Law & Order

Supreme Court Declines to Hear E15 Case, Leaves in Place Summertime Sale Restrictions

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By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. Supreme Court will not consider an appeal to permit the year-round sale of gasoline with up to 15% ethanol. Biofuel producers had asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow year-round sales of E15 for many years, and the Trump Administration issued a rule in 2019 to permit such sales. However, the Biden Administration rescinded the rule in 2021, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed that the EPA had overstepped its legal authority when issuing the 2019 rule. The Appeals Court upheld the summertime restriction for certain E15 sales.

Prior to 2019, the EPA prohibited the sale of E15 between June 1 and September 15 due to fuel-volatility concerns that higher blends of ethanol combined with warmer temperatures may lead to increased ground-level ozone formation and smog. Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations such as E15, can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers in older automobiles that were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials and certain specialty high-performance equipment installed on newer vehicles. SEMA opposes the expansion of E15 gasoline as there may not be enough protections to guard against misfuelling.

For more information, contact Caroline Fletcher at carolinef@sema.org.