Court Dismisses E-15 Legal Challenge; EPA Issues New Rules for Pumps Dispensing E-10 and E-15

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last week dismissed the legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to allow the use of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (E-15), ruling that the groups pressing the case had no right to sue.

EPA in 2010 issued a partial waiver that allows for the use of E-15 in vehicles manufactured during or after model year 2007. In 2011, EPA expanded authorized use of E15 to include model year 2001 and later vehicles.

Automakers, petroleum industry associations and refiners filed suit against the agency, arguing that E-15 could result in serious safety and environmental problems for consumers as well as increase the price of food and gasoline. The court last week ruled the groups couldn’t show they had suffered specific harm as a result of EPA’s decisions.

Industry groups have raised concerns about consumer misfueling and said that E-15 causes engine damage to passenger vehicles, boats and outdoor power equipment.

EPA last week issued new requirements for pumps that dispense both E-10 and E-15 through a single hose in efforts to prevent the misfueling of E-15 blends into non-road vehicles and engines that require E-10 or lower blends. 

EPA is requiring retailers to either use a dedicated hose for dispensing E-10 or lower blends on blender pumps, or impose a minimum four gallon purchase for each sale of E-10. The four-gallon minimum purchase is designed to ensure that any residual E-15 left in the hose and nozzle is blended down to an E-10 maximum. In addition to the four-gallon minimum, retailers using a single hose on blender pumps also must post the following dispenser label informing consumers of the minimum purchase requirement:

“Minimum Fueling Volume Four Gallons; Dispensing Less May Violate Federal Law”

EPA is informing retailers of the requirements for single hose blender pumps in approval letters for misfueling mitigation plans, which retailers must submit to the agency before E-15 may be sold.

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This article originally ran in NATSO News Weekly (NNW), NATSO's member only weekly electronic newsletter. NNW is packed with the latest updates on government and business issues affecting the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

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