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While it's certainly not one of the flashiest legal disputes in the automotive industry, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approval of E15 (a fuel consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) has convinced the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), along with the International Liquid Terminals Association and the Western States Petroleum Association to file yet another lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals. This time around, the suit seeks to overturn the EPA's approval of E15 in 2001-2006 model year vehicles.
In both lawsuits, the groups claim that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by approving E15 for use in some vehicles, but not in others. NPRA president, Charles Drevna, issued this statement regarding the lawsuit against the EPA:
This goes beyond the matter of EPA violating federal clean air law by granting partial waivers for E15. EPA's decision to allow E15 in the marketplace before adequate testing has been conducted disregards the safety of consumers. NPRA's members are committed to providing safe, reliable fuels to the American people. We stand behind the products our members provide, including the E10 used safely by millions of consumers throughout the country every day.
More details in the press release pasted after the jump.

[Source: National Petrochemical and Refiners Association]


Show full PR text
Organizations Seek Reversal of EPA's Second Partial Waiver for E15

WASHINGTON – NPRA, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, and two other organizations petitioned a federal court today to overturn a recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency authorizing a 50 percent increase in the amount of ethanol in gasoline for newer-model vehicles.

EPA's Jan. 21 decision raised the amount of ethanol permitted in gasoline used by cars and light trucks for model years 2001-2006 from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15).

The lawsuit, filed by NPRA, the International Liquid Terminals Association and the Western States Petroleum Association, follows an ongoing legal challenge by the same organizations of EPA's Oct. 13 decision to allow the use of E15 in vehicles model year 2007 and newer.

In filing both lawsuits with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the groups contend that EPA violated the Clean Air Act by issuing partial waivers that allow the use of E15 in some engines but not others.

NPRA and other organizations have also raised concerns regarding potential engine damage that E15 may cause to passenger vehicles, boats, and outdoor power equipment such as lawnmowers and chain saws.

"This goes beyond the matter of EPA violating federal clean air law by granting partial waivers for E15," NPRA President Charles T. Drevna said. "EPA's decision to allow E15 in the marketplace before adequate testing has been conducted disregards the safety of consumers.

"NPRA's members are committed to providing safe, reliable fuels to the American people," Drevna said. "We stand behind the products our members provide, including the E10 used safely by millions of consumers throughout the country every day.

"In its rush to bring E15 to the marketplace, however, EPA is putting those consumers at risk. The use of E15 in engines that aren't compatible with the higher ethanol blend could leave vehicle and power equipment operators stranded, injured, or worse."

NPRA and the other organizations will file written arguments regarding today's petition in coming weeks.

# # #

NPRA members include more than 450 companies, including virtually all American refiners and petrochemical manufacturers. Our members supply consumers with a wide variety of products and services used daily in their homes and businesses. These products include gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, jet fuel, lubricants and the chemicals that serve as "building blocks" in making everything from plastics to clothing to medicine to computers.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think this is part of the effort to overturn the federal blending mandates. There isn't demand for E85. Without being able blend more than 10% ethanol into gasoline, they will not be able to comply with coming blending mandates (increasing from 13 Billion gallons in 2010 to 36 billion gallons in 2022)... leading blending mandates to be abandoned.
      • 3 Years Ago
      @dave d

      That's a mature way of forming an opinion.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm making a joke about how much I hate the oil cartels. Clearly it was not meant to be a thoughtful dissertation of energy policy. There is a big difference.

        And if you don't like it, frankly I don't care.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, I've never been a big ethanol fan and I certainly was not a fan of the decision to move forward on E15 until we had a better source of ethanol than corn ethanol.

      HOWEVER, if the oil refinery types are against it, then I'm now a big fan. Don't ask me why cause I have no idea what they don't like...but anything those bastards want can't be good for the American public LOL

      Juvenile I know...so sue me. :-)
        • 3 Years Ago
        "Juvenile I know..."

        Yes and no. Greenies are often not in favor of ethanol. They (we) often see it as competition for producing better long term solutions. Because of that, it's easy to buy into the FUD surrounding ethanol.

        Now that the ultimate evil (big oil) has openly sued to prevent ethanol market penetration, light bulbs are going off. Maybe it's time to reexamine the facts around ethanol. I'm sure Carney would be happy to fill you in. :)
        • 3 Years Ago
        Think of it as them getting a 5% pay cut.

        Now here is a group that i wouldn't mind seeing the collective bargaining rights taken away from ....
      bajohn3
      • 3 Years Ago
      Biomass to generating plants to power EV's for the win.
      http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22628/
      Skips all the ethanol nonsense and you don't need to use corn.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here's some stats I read recently in one of the latest issues of THE ECONOMIST.
      A fairly well respected magazine - to say the least.

      Feb. 26, 2011 issue.

      Ethanol supplying 8% of America's fuel (I think this means consumer automotive).

      Consumes 40% of our maize crop (this is what the Europeans call corn).

      "produces 1.5 units of energy output per unit of input"


      $7 Billion dollars down the toilet each year in subsidies.
      Time to cut the purse strings.
      This stuff sucks, and is pure insanity to pursue. If not politically motivated - it wouldn't be happening.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carney

        Moron, do you even think before you post?

        "As for a 1.5 gain on a 1 unit input, if that were the return on a Wall Street investment, it would be a bonanza. 33% energy profit? Even Bernie Madoff only promised around 10%."

        33% energy profit? Much different from $ profit. How about subtracting farm equipment, maintenance, depreciation; LABOR, tranportation to the refinery/distillery, investment in the plant equipment, maintenance, depreciation, LABOR, transportation to fuel distribution depots (gas stations), etc. etc.

        And even with the $7 Billion in Federal subsidies, ethanol farmers and distillers are going out of business. Go figure.

        Most f'ing brilliant DOE and DOAg, and all the pandering numb-skull congressmen who vote for this crap because of the importance of Iowa caucuses.

        10% ethanol was stupid - so let's raise it to 15% !!!!!!!!!


        • 3 Years Ago
        You claim to be an opponent of oil, yet you refuse to understand that the issue isn't "waste" - it's cars being unable to use anything else to move. It's the unnecessary monopoly oil has on transportation motive power.

        Whatever violation of free market purity may be necessary to fix this problem is worth it in the long run, since the oil cartel is socialist and not a free market anyway, and they MAKE WAR ON US with the proceeds.

        If we all scrapped our SUVs and drove around in pathetic little Fiats, OPEC would still have a tight grip on our throats because its monopoly on transportation fuel would be unaffected.

        What MATTERS is NOT how much fuel we use, it's WHAT FUEL.
        • 3 Years Ago
        "As for a 1.5 gain on a 1 unit input, if that were the return on a Wall Street investment, it would be a bonanza. 33% energy profit? Even Bernie Madoff only promised around 10%."

        "33% energy profit? Much different from $ profit."

        Meaningless.

        "How about subtracting farm equipment, maintenance, depreciation; LABOR, tranportation to the refinery/distillery, investment in the plant equipment, maintenance, depreciation, LABOR, transportation to fuel distribution depots (gas stations), etc. etc."

        All that's taken into account in both energy and dollar profit calculations.

        "And even with the $7 Billion in Federal subsidies, ethanol farmers and distillers are going out of business. Go figure."

        The ethanol subsidiy is around 50 cents a gallon.

        There are plenty of gas stations that have gone out of business in my area as well, as well as other small businesses. That's what recessions do.

        "Most f'ing brilliant DOE and DOAg, and all the pandering numb-skull congressmen who vote for this crap because of the importance of Iowa caucuses."

        I'd prefer they support ethanol for the right reason and understand its value, so they don't turn on it like Gore did, but I'll take whatever support I can get for whatever reason so we can get off oil.

        That's the goal, remember?

        Oh you're too busy being a megaphone for OPEC-paid PR firm generated anti-ethanol FUD.

        "10% ethanol was stupid - so let's raise it to 15% !!!!!!!!!"

        No one is saying this. No one who opposes E10 supports E15. You're working yourself into a frenzy over nothing.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carney

        "post misleading snippets and half-truths"
        from the ECONOMIST ?
        Where do you get your stats - the huffington post?

        "You are a useful tool of the oil cartel"
        ethanol is a pimple on the ass of the oil companies
        They probably laugh about it every day.

        You are in denial to think that 1.0 input and 1.5 output is good. IT SUCKS.
        And also in denial to think that it hasn't affected the price of food and meat in the U.S.

        by the way; the article in the ECONOMIST was about using biofuels (from food stock) for making fuel. They predict food shortages to be a major problem in the near future.


        Don't think I'm a fan of big oil. We are using way too much of the muck.
        But out of waste - like f-ing SUVs and driving pick-up trucks with dualies to work every day.
        Ethanol doesn't help stupidity - just aids it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        As for a 1.5 gain on a 1 unit input, if that were the return on a Wall Street investment, it would be a bonanza. 33% energy profit? Even Bernie Madoff only promised around 10%.
        • 3 Years Ago
        EV nerd: "Moron, do you even think before you post?"

        You realize that you loose credibility as soon as you make comments like that.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yes, ethanol now takes up 40% of our corn crop. So what? That sounds scary until you also realize that food corn production has not shrunk, it's risen. The portion of the corn pie chart taken up by ethanol is bigger, but the pie is bigger too, so there's no net less of food corn. Or other crops either - per acre and overall yields just keep going up and up. More than half our farmland is not even cultivated so there's plenty of room for expansion.

        The subsidies we spend on ethanol are pathetically small compared to the hundreds of billions in extra costs we unnecessarily pay for oil because of OPEC price manipulation. (We spent $10 billion on oil in 1999; more than a trillion in 2008.)

        I have pointed out this important larger context MANY TIMES before to you, so you do not have ignorance as a defense. Instead you chose, fully knowing what you were doing, to post misleading snippets and half-truths.

        As for politics, of course energy is a political issue. Our cars' unnecessary inability to run on anything other than oil enables OPEC to impose monopoly prices on us, prices so high they crash our economy and let terrorists laugh at us as they roll in OUR money. Any sane politician, especially from an ag state, that isn't leading the charge for ethanol, methanol, and EVs isn't doing his job.

        You are a useful tool of the oil cartel and of our nation's enemies. Is that what you wanted to be as a kid? Look in the mirror and check your conscience if you still have one.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Sorry, I DO have an issue with waste.
        Wasting gallons of fuel to move a 6000 pound vehicle to carry one person to work, when you could just as comfortably (dry, heated/AC) in a vehicle getting 3 times the gas mileage.
        This wastefulness is the reason we have to import oil

        Waste of using imported oil (diesel), and natural gas to make ethanol.
        More efficient to just burn the damn oil or natural gas.

        CARNEY - Doesn't matter how much fuel we use???
        IF you're a believer in global warming/cooling/climate change:
        CO2 output is proportional to the amount of fuel you use. Period. No way around it.

        Those of you that complain of 'big oil" and the "oil cartels" and "monopolies".
        SO, Don't use the crap.
        If you do. Don't complain.

        Concerned? Do without (yes, it is possible).
        Can't? cut back as much as possible
      harlanx6
      • 3 Years Ago
      What's the matter, big oil, didn't your lobbyists get the job done right? You are obviously not paying enough graft under the table!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Although the comments on this thread tend to be a "fact-free" zone, I will buck this trend.

      A recent report done at the Argonne National Laboratory concluded that with today's production techniques ethanol returns 34% more energy than it takes to produce it. However, since a substantial portion of that energy is in the form of natural gas (used to produce fertilizer, run irrigation wells, and complete the distillation), the real return of liquid fuel used to produce the ethanol was actually a net gain of 6.24 BTU of energy for every BTU of liquid energy used. If you haven't noticed, practically every vehicle in this country runs on liquid fuel, and we have trillions of dollars invested in this infrastructure. While you can run cars on compressed natural gas, their range is very limited and there is only limited support for them at this time. For instance Honda makes a very nice car for this fuel system, but you could not drive from Denver to Kansas City because you would run out of fuel before the next refueling system.

      Ethanol increases the octane of gasoline it is mixed into. Much of the poor gas mileage would be offset if car engines were properly compress to run on high content ethanol fuel, due to the increased performance of I.C. engines. Think of diesel engines, they get much of their superior mileage performance strictly due to the high compression ratios that they operate at, though a secondary factor is the slightly higher BTU's in the fuel.

      For instance normal gasoline contains 114,000 BTU, while 10% gasoline/ethanol contains about 112,000 BTU. How is that possible when ethanol only contains 76,000 BTU? Well if you mix 9 gallons of gasoline with 1 gallon of ethanol, you only end up with 9 1/2 gallons of E10 fuel due to the unique properties of the ethanol molecule. So with a change from 114,000 to 112,000 BTU are you going to see any real change in gas mileage? No, because modern automotive engines now have "knock sensors" as part of their ignition controllers, and what they do is advance the spark timing as much as possible to achieve the most power on the least fuel. So since the octane is a couple points higher with E10, your mileage may even improve slightly.

      When you process corn to make ethanol, all you are doing is removing the carbohydrates. What is left from your original 56 lbs of corn (one standard bushel) is 18 lbs of protein. If left wet, this is shipped to local feed yards to feed cattle. If dried out, is can be shipped to anywhere in the world as animal feed. There is a real shortage of protein in the world, while carbohydrates are easy to find locally (native grasses). I should also mention that in that original 56 pounds of weight, there is also slightly more than 8 pounds of water. Currently you produce about 2.7-2.8 gallons of ethanol with each bushel of corn. Anyway, it is much more cost effective to ship dried distillers grain than whole grain when you consider the net amount of protein. Not so important in a rich country, but very important to the third world.

      Finally, the money paid to farmers generally stays in the country. It takes a lot of very expensive equipment to run a modern family farm and it tends to wear out over time. Most of that equipment is produced in the United States by companies like John Deere, and Case to name large companies. But there are also many small companies involved also. Perhaps as many as 10% of all jobs in America are related to agriculture. Unlike most of America, agriculture has recovered from the recent recession and can help the rest of the country through our buying power.
        • 3 Years Ago
        EV - I doubt you see 5 to 10% loss in mileage with E10, when the BTU content is 112,000 compared to 114,000 for regular gas.

        That 34% energy increase does account for the natural gas that is used to produce NH3 that farmers use for fertilizer. However, as liquid fuel, the increase is over 6 to 1 in energy content.

        Natural gas is almost without limits, and constantly being made from decay. There is more total energy tied up in methane than all the oil and coal put together.

        Subsidized alcohol is not necessary any more. On one plant that I have examined, their spread sheet showed that the government money was only equal to 10% of their profits. The rest goes to big oil, and they sure as hell don't need it.

        Motorhead, how much does the 5th fleet cost us each year to keep the oil flowing?

        Your analysis is deeply suspect.

        The US corn average is 168 bu per acre. That would produce over 450 gallons of ethanol. The amount of diesel fuel used by tractors might average 1/2 gallon per acre for a farm operation. You might see 4 or 5 operations with a tractor in a season. Much of the time, spray equipment is used which might only used about a pint of fuel per acre, since they typically cover 90 feet each pass at much higher speeds. Maybe two or three operations. Cutting and hauling it away does take a couple more gallons of diesel fuel. So overall maybe the farmer has 5 or 6 gallons of diesel fuel used per acre.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Bob. I'll take your "fact free" comment as insulting THE ECONOMIST, not me.

        Your Argonne readings (34% more energy) agrees with what I said. That's an absolutely horrible return on energy investment.
        Natural gas is one of our ace in the holes, and I hate to see us waste it. Besides heating our homes, it is also heavily used in making fertilizers, chemicals, plastics, and fueling many other industrial processes like making steel. But it is a limited resource and should not be squandered.

        Right now, E10 causes us to get 5 to 10% less gas mileage when using it. Hardly worth adding to gas.
        Sure our engines could be optimized for higher ethanol content. But why?

        We could increase corn production tremendously, moving from 40% use of the current corn crop to converting every farm in the US to growing corn. No matter how much we grow, the economics still don't work, and we'll still have to subsidize it -
        - adding to our national debt with every gallon produced.

        Cows love corn. But it makes them sick, needing antibiotics. Not a natural feed for them. Hate to cite a Hollywood source as credible, but if you haven't seen FOOD, INC. watch it on an empty stomach.

        Sorry I called Carney a moron. He keeps citing huffington post type sources that say our food prices haven't gone up due to ethanol use. Sure, they've mostly gone up due to fuel costs. Part of those increased fuel uses and costs are diesel fuel going to grow, and transport grain and ethanol. More farm land converted to corn makes other crops cost more. THE ECONOMIST mentions this fact also. But, it's just friggin' common sense. Please no more ridiculous sources of opinions.

        Our ridiculous energy usage right now is what has to subside. Our CAFE is hovering just above 20 Mpg. If we could just move it to somewhere between 30 and 40 mpg, we wouldn't need to import any oil at all. Just common sense how to do this. My family's AFE is above 50 mpg, and I can jump in any one of our three vehicles and drive across the country in heated or AC'ed comfort today.
        Much higher CAFE is a longer term interim answer.

        Then, we need to get busy building nukes for our electric cars. What asinine policies are holding them up?
        Japan had some unfortunate accidents recently, with ancient reactors, and a horrific earthquake. 8.9 is big. (1906 San Francisco ~7.9 - ten times less)
        Maybe we shouldn't build reactors on fault-lines in CA ? duh?

        Ethanol is not even an interim answer. A waste of energy resources (including labor that could be used for something more fruitful), and only adds to the national debt.
        • 3 Years Ago
        OK, you guys have convinced me.
        My admittedly rough analysis:

        take 1 gallon of diesel fuel - farming and transportation uses
        +
        take 1 gallon energy equivalent natural gas - distillery energy use - process heat and electric power (pumps, lighting, etc.)
        =
        3 gallons of ethanol

        Add it to my gasoline:
        and I get less gas mileage
        and more evaporative losses
        and pay more for it (and subsidies add to the national deficit)
        and I pay more for food

        Who thought of this?
        DOE
        Started in 1977 (by Carter) to "lessen our dependence on foreign oil"
        Now 16,000 permanent employees, and 100,000 contractors
        An annual budget of $26.6 Billion (FY2010)
        And 34 years later we're using more foreign oil than ever,
        and ethanol is the best plan they've come up with. LOL
      • 3 Years Ago
      They should go to Germany; here you can learn how to get the customers against ethanol fuel. Just spread a lot of panic about engine failure and they will deny it even for totally new cars...
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