Legislation Needed to Repeal E15 Mandate After Court Ruling Ends Lawsuits

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff 

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected petitions to reconsider a lower court ruling allowing the sale of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol (E15). The lower court did not rule on whether the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to permit E15 to be sold in the marketplace was valid. Rather, the court ruled that the parties challenging the decision—groups representing car, boat and power equipment manufacturers, along with the oil and food industries—did not have “standing” because they had failed to demonstrate a direct injury from E15 sales. 

The Supreme Court ruling ends any chance that the courts will overturn the E15 regulation. The focus of attention now shifts to Congress, where SEMA-supported legislation (H.R. 875; S. 344) has been introduced to effectively ban E15. The House bill has been approved by the House Science Committee and is pending before the Energy and Commerce Committee. There has been no action on the Senate bill. Lawmakers are also considering legislation to revise the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) approved by Congress in 2005. It was expanded in 2007 to dramatically increase the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline each year. The EPA approved E15 in anticipation of insufficient ethanol use through the sale of E10 to meet the increasing RFS ethanol mandates.

SEMA opposes E15 based on scientific evidence that it causes corrosion when used with incompatible parts. The chemical can also dissolve plastics and rubber. SEMA represents thousands of companies that market products for these vehicles and, through its SEMA Action Network (SAN), millions of enthusiasts who buy and operate automobiles incompatible with E15. 

For details, contact Stuart Gosswein at