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EPA Wins Legal Battle Against Higher Ethanol Levels In Fuel

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Corn Ethanol Pump

Corn Ethanol Pump

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The battle over the levels of ethanol in fuel may not have stopped just yet, but a decision by the U.S. Appeals Court will certainly weaken the challenge.

Several groups, including grocery, auto and petroleum industry bodies filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency in November 2010, challenging a rule to allow higher concentrations of corn-based ethanol in gasoline.

Reasoning ranges from high demand of corn-based ethanol pushing up the price and limiting supply of corn for food, to automakers unsure of the long-term effects of ethanol on engines.

According to Bloomberg, the court ruled that none of the groups could show they had been harmed by the EPA's decision to offer E15--15 percent ethanol content in gasoline.

Droughts across the midwest have led to lower corn yields than usual, reducing food stocks and pushing up the price of corn and other crops.

There have also been recent concerns that the requirements of blended pumps for ethanol blends above the standard E10--that's 10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline--limits some users from filling up with E15. That's if you can find E15 in the first place, as pumps are still relatively few and far between.

E15 might have taken a step forward following the court's decision, but there are plenty more hurdles on the horizon before the fuel is widely available.

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  1. A hollow victory as refiners are not going to sell E15 directly and neither will they supply the blendstock necessary to mix 15% ethanol. E15 is going to be VERY hard to find until somebody absolves them of legal liability from damage to engines caused by E15 or higher blends.
     
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