SEMA Urges EPA to Abandon E15 Ethanol

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

In comments submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), SEMA urged the agency to support legislation in the U.S. Congress to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate within the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Congress enacted the RFS in 2005 as a way to reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. However, it has translated into ever-increasing mandates to grow corn so that the ethanol byproduct can be blended into gasoline. The EPA has proposed lower levels for 2014-2016 than mandated by Congress since the current marketplace cannot meet the limits through sales of gasoline with 10% ethanol (E10) and sales of 15% ethanol (E15) are sparse.  

Ethanol can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers, especially in older vehicles that were not constructed with ethanol-compatible materials. SEMA opposes E15, contending that the fuel poses a risk to nearly 70 million older vehicles in addition to certain specialty high-performance equipment installed on newer vehicles. The EPA recognized this fact when it limited E15 sales to model-year '01 and newer vehicles. However, the EPA only required a gas pump warning label making it “illegal” for the consumer to fuel older vehicles with E15.  

SEMA also joined with more than 50 other organizations from the auto, boat, food and energy industries to support passage of legislation (HR 704) capping the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline at 10 percent and eliminating a mandate that 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended into the U.S. fuel supply every year. The bill is currently awaiting consideration by the House Energy and Power Subcommittee.

For additional information, contact Stuart Gosswein at