The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a case that attempted to thwart the sale of fuel containing a higher percentage of ethanol, a decision that could clear the way for the more widespread use of E15.
The use of E15 has angered the oil lobby, which has a history of fighting many mandates that result in less oil use, but it’s also raised the ire of poultry and cattle farmers, who said the use of corn in E15 production will increase grain costs.
In declining to hear the case, the high court preserved a lower-court ruling that the American Petroleum Institute, a lobbying organization for the oil industry, did not have the standing to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow sales of the controversial fuel.
API officials and a wide group of opponents that included auto manufacturers and poultry farmers argued that E15 could cause corrosion and damage to several car components, including engines. Some carmakers say drivers could inadvertently void their warranties by pumping it into their gas tanks. AAA, the nation’s largest motoring organization, has called for increased study of the potential dangers to vehicle parts, and says potential dangers particularly exist for vehicles built prior to 2001.
The EPA, on the other hand, says E15, which is comprised of a 15 percent ethanol blend instead of the usual 10 percent, is safe for cars.
Poultry and cattle farmers have opposed E15 because it is more rampant production could increase the price of corn needed to feed their animals, a cost that would surely be passed along to consumers at the grocery store. Corn farmers, on the other hand, surely benefit from the increased use of their product in fuel blends.
None of this is an immediate concern for most drivers. Of the 180,000 or so gas stations in the country, The Detroit News says only about two dozen in the corn-fed Midwest are selling E15.