The US Supreme Court has effectively rejected an effort to block sales of gasoline blended with 15-percent ethanol content (E15), refusing to hear a lawsuit and leaving in place an earlier ruling by a federal appeals court that confirms the fuel is legal to sell.
The attempt to block E15 sales was spearheaded by the American Petroleum Institute – a primary lobbying group for the oil industry – that claims E15 may damage aging cars and motorcycles and increase the price of certain foodstuffs. Bob Greco, a senior official with API, is reported by USA Today as having said, "The ever-increasing ethanol mandate has become unsustainable, causing a looming crisis for gasoline consumers. We're at the point where refiners are being pressured to put unsafe levels of ethanol in gasoline, which could damage vehicles, harm consumers and wreak havoc on our economy."
Of course, supporters of ethanol and E15 believe that the fuel can offer a cheaper alternative to non-blended gasoline, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and lowers US dependence on foreign oil imports. E15 proponents and the Department of Energy have called into question the research that seeks to show a link between maintenance issues in pre-2001 vehicles and ethanol, as well.
For its part, the Environmental Protection Agency has reiterated that the potential sale of E15 does not indicate a government mandate to buy the fuel. USA Today cites Christopher Grundler from the EPA Director's Office of Transportation and Air Quality as saying, "The government is not saying 'go ahead' and put E15 in all cars. The government is saying this is legal fuel to sell if the market demands it and there are people who wish to sell it."
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