Law & Order

Court Strikes Down 2019 EPA Rule Allowing Year-Round E-15 Sales

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped its authority by issuing a rulemaking allowing gasoline with up to 15% ethanol to be sold year-round. Previously, there was a summertime restriction on the sale of E-15, due to fuel-volatility concerns that higher blends of ethanol combined with warmer temperatures may lead to increased smog. The Court stated that it was clear that Congress did not intend for ethanol blends higher than 10% to be allowed to be sold year-round and thus struck down the 2019 EPA rule.

SEMA opposed the EPA rulemaking to expand E-15 availability to year-round. Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations such as E-15, can cause damage to high-performance parts and vehicles manufactured prior to 2001. The EPA requires an E-15 warning label on fuel pumps in recognition that many older vehicles were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials and could be subject to metal corrosion or plastic and rubber deterioration. In its comments opposing the rule, SEMA reminded the agency that there are millions of older vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs, boats and machines with smaller engines still in the marketplace and that the warning labels should be even larger than currently required to protect against accidental misfueling.   

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