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E15 IS LEGAL, LET THE PRODUCTION BEGIN … OR NOT

April 15, 2012

On April 2, 2012 the EPA finally announced approval of the first applications for registration of ethanol for use in producing E15 and the ethanol lobby jumped on the announcement to trumpet the arrival of E15 at your local service station.  Announcement here includes positive statements from ethanol lobbyists.  But the announcement here points out a few of the hurdles remaining:

1.  There is still a lawsuit in federal court against the EPA about legality of the bifurcated waiver.

2.  Many states have statutes that limit ethanol blending to 10% for non flex-fuel cars, like California the largest gasoline market in the U.S.

3.  The waiver is voluntary and the gasoline producers have stated publicly they will not make E15 unless they are granted immunity from damage claims.

4.  Many gasoline station chains have made it clear they will not pump E15 unless they are given immunity from damage claims, especially from misfueling.  In fact there is a lawsuit over the mandatory E15 pump label which warns about misfueling.

5.  There are no cars with E15 warranties and the car manufacturers have pretty much said they are not going to warrant their vehicles for a voluntary product.  Why would they considering the costs associated with testing that will have to be passed on to the consumer.

6.  It appears that the only way to make E15 economically viable is to create legislation that just prohibits any damage liability which is exactly what a congress critter from IL has just done.  This appears to be an admission that E15 is going to cause damage.

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