Industries try to stop higher-ethanol fuel

Source: Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY12:24p.m. EST February 21, 2013 • Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013

A coalition of oil and food industry groups filed a petition with the Supreme Court Thursday asking it to overturn a lower court decision that said they didn’t have standing to sue over a federal decision to allow more ethanol in fuel.

The American Petroleum Institute’s Bob Greco said the groups also plan to ask Congress to overturn the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that he says is “simply unsustainable” because of the allowance of higher levels of ethanol.

API and the Grocery Manufacturers Association were joined by groups representing the meat, pork and chicken industries in the petition because of the effect increased use of corn for fuel has on the prices the food industry has to pay for feed and raw materials. Corn is used in the production of ethanol.

Louis Finkel, GMA’s executive vice president of government affairs, said the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision last August was particularly troublesome to the food industry because it followed a drought that had already taken a toll.

“It drove corn prices up when corn was already in short supply because of mother nature and an unworkable RFS standard,” he said.

The groups also claim EPA approved E15 before testing by the oil and auto industries had been completed. Earlier industry testing showed E15 could damage engines and cause vehicles that use it to break down. The groups say that’s true even in the 2001 and later models EPA approved to use the fuel. Car manufacturers have said they will not honor warranties when E15 causes damage.

EPA has said it determined that fuel with 15% ethanol was acceptable for vehicles beginning in the 2001 model year after analyzing test results from Department of Energy and other data. The agency notes it isn’t requiring the use or sale of E15 or overriding automakers’ requirements or recommendations for their vehicles.

Information on the EPA’s E15 decision process is available at