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Carmakers Challenge Rule Allowing 15% Ethanol in Fuel

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Carmakers Challenge Rule Allowing 15% Ethanol
An Archer Daniels Midland truck is filled with ethanol at the company's facility in Decatur, Illinois. Photographer: Mark Cowan/Bloomberg

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. carmakers and engine manufacturers asked an appeals court to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its October decision allowing the sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol.

Organizations including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers today asked the federal appeals court in Washington to review whether the EPA’s “partial waiver” allowing so-called E-15 fuels violates the Clean Air Act.

“Our organizations collectively represent some 400 million engine products used by tens of millions of people every day in the U.S.,” Kris Kiser, a spokesman for the Engine Products Group, composed of four trade organizations, said in a statement.

The EPA on Oct. 13 granted a request from ethanol producers, including Decatur, Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland Co., to increase concentrations of the corn-based fuel additive in gasoline for vehicles made for 2007 and later. The previous limit was 10 percent.

The EPA’s media department didn’t immediately return calls for comment on the filing of the petition.

The manufacturers said the testing EPA used for its decision was put in the administrative record too late for meaningful comment, that the regulator’s own statute says fuels can’t be approved that could cause failures, and that E-15 has been shown to adversely affect engines.

Engine Products Group

The Engine Products Group comprises the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers Inc., the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, according to the statement.

“We want to be sure that any new fuel will not increase air pollution, harm engines or endanger consumer safety,” Michael J. Stanton, president of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, said in the statement.

The Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol trade group in Washington, said the EPA could have avoided “market confusion” by 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,” the group said in a statement.

The case is Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 10-1414, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Thom Weidlich in Brooklyn, New York, federal court at tweidlich@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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