EPA Delays E15 Ethanol Blend Decision for Newer Cars

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Friday it will delay a decision on allowing 15% ethanol blends to be sold for use in 2001 to 2006 model year cars and light trucks.

In October the Agency approved the so-called E15 blend for cars made in 2007 and after–a move that is expected to boost the demand for the domestic ethanol industry.

If the blend is approved for vehicles dating back to 2001, that will account for roughly 60% of U.S. vehicles, according to Reuters.

Previously, EPA said it would make a decision in December, but the Agency said testing delays have pushed the decision back to January. The testing is to determine whether or not higher blends of ethanol to gasoline will harm the engines of older vehicles. 

Earlier this month, the American Petroleum Institute (API), the oil industry’s main lobbying arm in Washington, and a coalition of food and restaurant industry trade groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA’s October decision.

API, which naturally prefers petroleum fuel to biofuel, said the EPA decision was based on incomplete testing and "puts consumers at risk."

The food trade groups, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the American Meat Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants, said increasing the use of ethanol in cars will increase corn prices and make food more expensive. 

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