The newly formed Engine Products Group (EPG)—comprising the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance), The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, Inc. (AIAM), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)—filed a petition challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to grant a partial waiver approving the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (E-15) for 2007 model year and newer passenger cars and light trucks. (Earlier post.)
The petition, filed with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asks that EPA’s decision be remanded back to the Agency and requests judicial oversight and review over whether EPA’s partial waiver approval for E-15 fuels violates the federal Clean Air Act provisions, which expressly limit the circumstances under which EPA can approve applications for new fuels and fuel additives.
The petition challenges the ability of EPA to grant a partial waiver for three specific reasons:
The Clean Air Act does not authorize EPA to issue any partial waiver decisions.
The statute passed by Congress in 2007 states that fuels can’t be approved for the market that could cause any failures. Yet, E-15 has been shown to adversely affect engines in non-road products and later model year vehicles, cause emission failures and increase air pollution due to misfueling, the group says. Further, administrative records fail to demonstrate that even new model year motor vehicles (other than flexible fuel vehicles) would not be damaged and result in failures when run on E-15.
The testing upon which EPA made its decision, was put in the administrative record too late to permit meaningful comment or scrutiny from concerned groups and stakeholders.
While all members of the EPG have and continue to support the development and use of safe and sustainable alternative fuels, the action EPA has taken to permit E-15 to be sold as a legal fuel, even if limited only to certain products, will have adverse consequences for the environment and consumers. A partial waiver, by its nature, necessarily will result in the misfueling of products not designed or tested for E-15 use.—Kris Kiser, Executive Vice President of The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, speaking on behalf of the Engine Products Group
AIAM supports renewable fuels, including ethanol. Our concern is that EPA prematurely granted the partial waiver before critical studies on the effects of E-15 use were completed. We want to be sure that any new fuel will not increase air pollution, harm engines or endanger consumer safety. We are pursuing this legal action reluctantly and remain committed to continuing to work with the Administration and other stakeholders to establish prospective, performance-based targets to address the challenging issues related to the introduction of new fuels into the marketplace.—AIAM President and CEO, Michael J. Stanton
Responding to the filing of the lawsuit, the Renewable Fuels Association issued the following statement:
EPA could have avoided this kind of market confusion by following all the science to its logical conclusion and allowing the use of E15 for all cars and light duty pickup trucks. The only way to meet the nation’s energy, economic and environmental goals as put forth in the Renewable Fuels Standard is to increase ethanol consumption. Allowing for the use of E15 blends is a safe and appropriate step toward meeting these goals. The RFA will continue to press for the safe and effective use of higher level ethanol blends in both conventional as well as flexible fuel vehicles.