If not predictable, this is certainly disappointing.
A federal appeals court Friday threw out a challenge by automakers and other groups to a new fuel with a higher blend of ethanol that could damage engines.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision rejected a suit brought by Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Global Automakers, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the oil industry and other groups that sought to overturn the Enviromental Protection Agency’s approval of E15 -a fuel that includes 15 percent ethanol.
The EPA shouldn’t be doing too much of an end zone dance here. The court didn’t even reject the argument against the waiver on the merits of the case. They kicked it out saying that the plaintiffs didn’t have the proper standing to bring the case in the first place. (How that works is something of a mystery.) You can read the full judgement here (.pdf file) if you’d care to sort it out for yourself.
We’ve known for some time now, as demonstrated by the findings of this Coordinating Research Council study among others, that E15 causes serious problems. The same people who manufacture the engines which have to burn these modified fuels have told us that as many as 5 million cars from 2001 and beyond could have their engines damaged by the hotter running fuel. Two manufacturers are already putting labels on their gas caps warning consumers that they can’t be held responsible for what may happen if they burn the higher blend gas. Smarter Fuel Future has provided you with a helpful graphic detailing just what the real cost of E15 will be to consumers.
Fisherman and other boating enthusiasts have been receiving warnings for years regarding the damage that ethanol blends do to marine engines. There are even popular lines of products available to help protect them. And yet, absent a more successful court challenge or action by Congress, (which should be happening aaaaaaaaaaany day now…) it looks like the EPA will get their way. Their mandate to force manufacturers to accept increasing percentages of “green” fuels is going hit consumers in the pocketbook unless they are given time for the technology to keep up with the changes.