Federal Court Throws Out E15 Lawsuit


Truth and facts beat out shady GOP politics and frustrating hipster ignorance this week when a US Appeals Court decided that the lawsuit brought against the EPA by petroleum and food lobbyists (for mandating higher ethanol content in gasoline) lacked sufficient merit to move forward. The trade organizations claimed that the shift to E15 would drive up “the price of food and gasoline and harm engines,” Bloomberg writes, but the judges – after analyzing stacks of research from both sides – did not find that any such harm was being done.

In his (correct) decision, Circuit Court Judge David Sentelle wrote that “each of the industry groups advances a theory of standing, but none is in fact adequate to meet the burden of establishing standing (under Article III).” So, take THAT corrupt, bogus lobbyists. You can read the full decision for yourself, below.

Source: Bloomberg.

About the Author

I’ve been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

  • George

    I guess you don’t actually work on engines, just write about them or have someone else do the work for you, so you haven’t seen the problems that ethanol causes. I work on a lot of 2 and 4 cycle engines and have seen first hand what happens when ethanol fuels are used, seal and fuel line deterioration as well as aluminum corrosion. Guess these are the “Green” jobs we were promised.

    • You must not have Google. I’ve been in, under, and around a number of ethanol cars and trucks and haven’t experienced anything that would turn me away from it as a fuel. You’re right, of course: a number of seals, o-rings, lines, etc. need changed out, but that hardly means the FUEL is bad. It may, however, mean that you have to think a little bit harder before putting an engine back together or ordering new parts … which would be a big problem from most of the parts-changing “mechanics” coming out of UTI and OE dealer training programs these days, I’m sure!!

      • george

        Jo, the fuel is causing the problems (www.mpcresponds.com/go/doc/4879/1334267/Marathon-Petroleum-Small-Engine-Fuel-Advisory-) and (http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2009/06/ethanol-e10-e15-lobbying-group-growth-energy-opei-lawn-mower-engines.html) that you mentioned “a number of seals, o-rings, lines, etc. need changed out”. Raccoons, Opossums and Armadillos have been in, under, and around a number of cars and trucks but this doesn’t make them experts on engines. Hey that Google thingy works pretty good, I even found myself (bitwtech.blogspot.com/2010/06/bitw-technologies-team-member-profiles.html). I also found you on Linkedin, I see we have friends of friends in common.

        • HA! I love the line about raccoons! OK, seems like you have enough technical background to understand what I’m going to say next: if some jackwagon pumps diesel into an engine optimized for gasoline, that doesn’t make diesel a bad fuel. If you are who you say you are, this should be one of those “Ah-ha!” moments. Keep fighting the good fight, though – we may disagree on ethanol and/or the inherent value of continuing to work to preserve engines that generate tons of toxic hydrocarbons a year, but high mpg is a good thing.

      • Tim

        Uh… Did you actually read the decision? Even your exert points out that the court found those groups didn’t have standing to sue. All that means is that they haven’t been affected by the law (yet, since it hasn’t been implemented) and cannot sue until they can prove damages.

        Also, ethanol absolutely, without a doubt, causes engine damage to most (non-automotive) engines. The alcohol is highly corrosive to rubber, and also has the unfortunate side effect of (being that it is alcohol) attracting water, which is terrible for maritime engines. I’ve never even heard someone try to argue otherwise.

        Also, ethanol is absolutely immoral. We export corn & food to the entire world. By burning 40% (40 PER CENT!) of our corn, we are raising the price of most food world wide. Beef is more expensive (cows eat corn!), everything with high fructose corn syrup (an artificial sweetener) is more expensive, and so is everything up and down the food chain & supply line (milk, cheese, etc.)

        No big deal, right? Well, not necessarily for you, but for poor people around the world who are literally starving to death, it is a big deal.

        There is not a single informed, serious, person that I know of that isn’t running for president (and thus appealing to the all important iowa voters) who thinks ethanol is anything but a huge waste of money and resources on all levels. You are so incredibly ignorant on this subject that I felt it necessary to respond.

        • T Adkins

          Most of the corn we grow is to feed animals it is a kind of corn humans cant eat. As far as cow eat corn it is because we feed it to them, they really arent meant to eat it but it bulks them up quicker, and changes the texture of the meat and then it changes the flavor of the meat and milk; then when the cows are having e.coli problems if they were to change their diet back to a grass diet for as little as 2 weeks that issue would go away but why put the customer health in front of profits.

          The you have corn sweetener which isnt really used outside of the US unless it is in candy, on the open world market sugar is cheaper. Food prices in the US for beef and dairy and corn wont go up by that much only because we have large subsidies for beef and dairy and corn.

          As far as those poor starving folks it is kinda related to corn but not in the way you put it. See we subsidize corn a lot to the point where we sell corn for less than it cost to grow, so much less that even if we send it around the world and sell it to another country, even with the cost of shipping sell it for less than it costs their farmers to grow it. You do this long enough (and we have) then you have guys that stop being farmers and look for work that isnt farming, then if our cost fluctuate or our harvest are short or if there is a new market at home that they can turn a higher profit, well then they pass that cost on to the buyers down the road. But it isnt due to the cost involved it is that they had cost so good for so long it destroyed farming in those other countries, no farmers at home equals no food at home. That is why those folks are literally starving to death.

          Am I for corn-ethanol? NO. Does ethanol damage engine that were not meant to run it? yes, but it would cost less than $200 to get that fixed in cars from the manufacturers. Is corn-ethanol more trouble than it is worth currently? yes, when just factoring in the fossil fuel inputs to make ethanol you get between 0.78-1.43 units of energy from ethanol for every 1 unit of fossil fuel energy you put in. There are ways to make corn-ethanol better and more energy efficient on the growing and processing side.

          As far as morality that is a human endeavor and judgement. Ethanol has no morals it is little more than whiskey renamed fuel, but if you are appealing to corporations which are legal fiction given purpose and that purpose is to make profit, and you are asking this profit making machine to use morals which it doesnt have to go against its goal of making profit, there is a good chance that appealing to morality wont work and that profit will win out.

          We have to make it so there is profit in either feeding those people or in getting them to be able to feed themselves.

  • nobama is goodbama

    I can only imagine that you have lost your memory or your mind. But the shady GOP politics of Richard Nixon enacted the Environmental Protection Act in 1968 and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Whereas your wonderful KING obama has violated every law possible to maintain his illegitimate position as our first fraud president.
    King obama has hidden and sealed every one of his personal documents and has spent over 2 million dollars in legal fees to keep them from public view. If that is not shady, then please go the dictionary and read the definition of the word.

    • Yeah, I know. Freeing the slaves, pushing civil rights and segregation, voting suffrage for African-Americans, and on and on and on. You are 100% right: the Republicans were the good guys until Reagan. They’re pretty much all evil, closet, racist assclowns now. Thanks for the walk down memory lane, though!

    • FYI: I just called you an evil, closet, racist assclown. I know you GOP guys have trouble reading in between the lines, so I figured I’d help you along a bit. 😉

  • Curly

    If using ethanol as a gasoline extender would not have a effect on the price of food why is the use of it being suspended?

    • Lobbyists and propaganda, even when based on nothing more than fear-mongering, are often very effective. That said, it is NOT being suspended, that’s the result of the verdict here.

  • This is silly. It takes oil to grow, process and ship ethanol so the oil interests shouldn’t worry….


  • Bullshit. Ethanol eats older engines, lawnmowers, carbureted motorcycles and other vehicles and machines we know and love. It’s a scam. It would work if engines are rebuilt with internal components that corrosive ethanol doesn’t eat but at a tremendous cost. And it would work if we were using cellulosic ethanol. Which we aren’t. Part of the reason we have $8.60 per bushel corn is the amount withdrawn from food production to make fuel. Bad economics. Ba policy and bad fuel. I say again. Bullshit.

    • Older machines we know and love? Are you hammering these hysterical technophobic ravings on your Osborne 1? 😀 Thanks, man – I needed that laugh.

  • george
    • So, wait – NPR is infallible now? After years of subsidies paying farmers NOT to grow as much corn as they could, now people are complaining about a lack of corn. The lesson here is that past bumper crops could/should have been stored as fuel, not that the current fuel policy is flawed.

  • george

    No Jo, I am not saying that NPR is infallible, NPR is about getting their funding, sometimes not so ethical, however I try to draw my own conclusions from the facts. This year the country is in a drought, some people claim it is because of “global warming” or Climate Change” which ever is PC at the time. Government mandates for the production of ethanol are what concerned me about this article, the mandate should have been set up on a percentage crop yield not on a predetermined number that does not take into account weather conditions. I think that with the bumper crops, when we have them, should be made into corn flakes instead of making ethanol (much easier to store and ship), at least we could feed the poor.

    • That’s exactly my point, though: this decision was rendered as it was because the court found NO EVIDENCE that the EPA’s decision was negatively impacting food prices/availability. With nearly 1/3 of Americans obese, I think that, at least, should be obvious.

  • T Adkins

    As much as I just luv where all these comments are going and as both camps circle their wagons.. You have to remember the E15 just means they can now use up to 15% ethanol mixed with the gas with E10 they could use up to 10%. They dont currently even use 10% in the blend now but they are allowed up to that much. With them not using the 10 now dont just assume they will just throw the blend up to 15 in the next day, the next week, or the next year. They just now have the option to use that much but it doesnt yet make economic sense to do so.

    While I am not a fan of ethanol; certain states, gov agencies and many cities require a certain amount of oxygenate content in the gas sold in different places, ethanol does this function quite well and unlike the last oxygen additive it doesnt poison the water and food supply. Ethanol also easily ups the octane to reduce knock.

    Yes ethanol production does use up corn that would go to food prodution but so does plastic made from corn and the funtime object called xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is made from corn and well it is used in food, cosmetics, toothpaste, and in drilling for oil. The thing with corn is we grow so so much of it we get crazy surpluses of it and we need to have non-food uses for it or it will just go bad. This partly stems from the corn subsidies we have in place where it is priced fixed in such away that it cost less to buy the corn than it cost to grow it.

    But as corn ethanol haters we dont have to worry about it forever, with better farming and growing techniques we will have less fossil fuel inputs in corn. Then we have the fun of moving to non-corn ethanol, and then all the bio diesel options and alt fuel alternatives.

    If we dont like corn ethanol lets push them to better alt fuels.

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