Recently the Supreme Court decided not to hear a case against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brought on by automakers that are against the decision to approve a higher ethanol gasoline blend called E15. The means a lower court decision to uphold the EPA’s approval of the fuel will stand. The industry groups, spearheaded by the Association of American Automakers but including oil industry advocates, claim that the fuel will do disproportionate damage to engines and needs more testing before it should be widely used. Supporters of E15 say that the lawsuit is a frivolous attempt to protect the fossil fuels industry and that the fuel has been tested thoroughly and deemed safe.
You cannot help but smell a rat when you consider the source of the claims against the higher ethanol fuel. Fuel suppliers have pressured gas stations out of selling the new blend. The American Petroleum Institute commissioned a study last year that concluded E15 was more corrosive than the current standard gasoline, E10 (a 10% ethanol blend versus the new 15% level). Of course, the study included engines that were known to corrode more easily than most cars, which environmental advocates claim was done on purpose in order to curb the results in fuel industry’s favor.
Spokespeople for petroleum and automobiles claim that the new fuel will ultimately hurt consumers (even though it is cheaper and cleaner), because of potential damage to cars that were not designed for that fuel specifically. But after a year of sales, no real world cases of corrosion have been documented.
The industry’s opposition to efforts made by the EPA is old news. Environmental regulations have always been a point of contention from those profiting off of unsustainable business. However, as consumers become more aware of the damage caused by fossil fuels, climate change continues to affect us and the EPA aggressively ramps up its goals, the fossil fuel business is bound to bust. The Supreme Court’s decision is a sign of a dying industrial age and a new push for sustainable solutions.