* EPA expected to issue E15 decision in January
* E15 could be used in more than half current vehicles
(Adds service station owners concerns about E15, oil refiners
lawsuit against E15)
By Tom Doggett
WASHINGTON, Jan 3 The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency has received final test results from the
Energy Department on how older vehicles perform using gasoline
blended with 15 percent ethanol, the agency said on Monday.
The EPA said it is now on track to issue a decision this
month on whether so-called E15 gasoline is safe for vehicles
built during the 2001 to 2006 model years. U.S. gasoline now
contains up to 10 percent ethanol.
"We've received and are reviewing all of the testing
information from DOE," the EPA said. The Energy Department sent
the remaining test data last week.
The decision on a higher ethanol blend was expected in
December, but the EPA delayed it after the Energy Department
said it needed to redo several tests because some of the cars
were not properly prepared. The additional testing was not
directly related to the E15 fuel.
EPA in October approved E15 gasoline for cars and trucks
made during 2007 and later.
Many service stations are reluctant to offer E15 because
most fuel pumps have not been certified to sell it. Service
station owners could also be sued by consumers if E15 harms the
engines of cars, boats and chainsaws.
The EPA plans to put E15 labels on gasoline pumps so
drivers will not confuse it with other blends.
Meanwhile, the trade group for U.S. oil refiners asked a
federal appeals court on Monday to overturn the EPA's October
decision on E15.
The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association said
the EPA does not have the authority under the Clean Air Act to
approve E15 gasoline in some engines but not in others.
The International Liquid Terminals Association and the
Western States Petroleum Association joined the oil refiners
trade group in the lawsuit.
"The organizations challenging EPA's decision believe the
agency has acted unlawfully in its rush to allow a 50 percent
increase in the amount of ethanol in gasoline without adequate
testing and without following proper procedures. As a result,
we had no choice but to take this issue to court," the
Allowing E15 gasoline in cars and truck built since the
2001 model year would cover more than half the vehicles now on
The higher blend would benefit ethanol producers. More
ethanol is already required to come on the market as federal
law requires the amount of ethanol blended into to U.S.
gasoline to gradually increases from 12 billion gallons last
year to 12.6 billion gallons this year and then to 15 billion
gallons by 2015.
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio and Jim