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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jun 25, 2013 1:25 AM Flag

    Supreme Court sides with ethanol in renewable fuel debate

    Supreme Court sides with ethanol in renewable fuel debate

    Renewable fuel advocates praised a Supreme Court decision Monday not to hear a challenge to higher ethanol blends of gasoline, while opponents warned of potential mechanical damage. The Supreme Court decision comes as fuelmakers struggle to meet federal renewable fuel standards.

    By David J. Unger, Correspondent / June 24, 2013

    The Supreme Court blocked the oil and gas industry's challenge to a high-ethanol blend of gasoline Monday, scoring a point for a renewable fuel industry aiming to mix more plant-based materials into the nation's gasoline.

    The Supreme Court decision comes as fuelmakers find themselves up against a so-called ethanol "blend wall." Companies struggle to meet federal renewable fuel requirements as a slow economy and more efficient cars push gasoline demand down.

    Renewable fuel advocates say the solution is to allow blenders to mix a greater amount of corn-based ethanol into gasoline in order to satisfy the federal standard, reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, and help curb greenhouse gas emissions. Opponents say the higher blend gasoline can damage today's engines and require large-scale infrastructure updates that would push up prices at the pump.

    In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the government's renewable fuel standard, raised the legal volume of ethanol in commercial gasoline from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15) for use in cars and light trucks from model year 2001 and newer.

    Oil industry groups challenged the legality of the EPA's increase but the circuit court in Washington, D.C., rejected the challenge last summer. Those groups then petitioned the Supreme Court, which decided Monday not to consider the case.

    "EPA approved E15 before vehicle testing was complete, and we now know the fuel may cause significant mechanical problems in millions of cars on the road today," Harry Ng, vice president and general counsel with th

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