Two US Senators introduce bill to reverse EPA decision allowing E15 ethanol in fuel supply

The proposed legislation, if passed by Congress, will set a cap of 10 percent ethanol (E10) that is approved for use in the nation’s gasoline supply.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) applauds Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and David Vitter (R-La.) for taking steps to reverse the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) illegal decision to allow E15 into the fuel supply even though this fuel damages existing vehicles.

“The fact that EPA would allow a fuel in the marketplace that it knows will threaten existing engines and refueling infrastructure is inconceivable and is a glaring example of EPA’s willingness to place politics ahead of science,” said AFPM President Charles T. Drevna.

“EPA chose to prematurely issue a series of fuel waivers to allow E15 to be used in vehicles manufactured after 2001, despite compelling evidence that the fuel will be costly and potentially dangerous for consumers,” said Drevna.

E15 is a blend of fuel containing 15 percent volume ethanol and 85 percent volume gasoline. While E10 has been proven to be a safe and reliable gasoline for more than 20 years, the same cannot be said about E15. Despite this reality, EPA approved E15 for sale into the general gasoline pool for vehicles made in and after 2001.

Numerous studies show that gasoline blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol can cause engine damage in millions of vehicles on the road today and in smaller engines including chainsaws, lawnmowers, boats and snowmobiles. As a result, vehicle manufacturers have warned that the use of E15 will void warranties, leaving consumers vulnerable to expensive repair bills.

A court dismissed several industry challenges to EPA’s E15 waiver decision on procedural grounds. AFPM is considering appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision did not reach the merits of the case; however, the dissenting opinion indicated that EPA overstepped its legal authority.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia acknowledged the inherent problem with E15 noting, “Just a few weeks ago, the American Automobile Association warned of the damage E15 will cause to car engines and took the extraordinary step of publicly asking EPA to block the sale of E15.”

The introduction of mid-level ethanol blends is just one of many insurmountable problems caused by the RFS and is a prime example of why Congress should repeal the unworkable program.