Law & Order

EPA Delays Ethanol-15 Decision Until Next Summer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delayed until mid-2010 a decision on whether to permit the ethanol content of gasoline to increase to 15% (from 10%). The original deadline was December 2009. The EPA indicated that it would likely accept the new level if tests confirm that the blend would not cause damage to cars. The EPA noted that it might limit use only in cars of the 2001 and later model years since initial tests suggest that newer cars may better accommodate the fuel. The EPA needs additional time for durability testing regarding the long-term effects on vehicle components and the emissions control system.

If the application is limited to model year 2001 and newer cars, gasoline retailers would have to supply varying ethanol blends and relabel pumps, and drivers of older cars would need to be cautioned not to misfuel. Last year, SEMA submitted comments to the EPA opposing the 15% ethanol content, citing concern that the additional content could harm automobile parts of all ages, including special-interest collector and historic vehicles. A number of other organizations expressed similar concerns.

Details: Stuart Gosswein.