Court Tosses E15 Labeling Lawsuit

By DTN Staff

STREATOR, Ill. (DTN) — A federal appeals court has tossed a lawsuit filed by industry trade groups seeking to repeal an EPA regulation for labeling retail pumps that sell gasoline containing 15% ethanol, or E15.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled on Tuesday, Oct. 21, that the groups, including the American Petroleum Institute and Engine Products Group, failed to establish standing because "they cannot show their members have suffered or are threatened with suffering an injury in fact that is traceable to the regulation," the court said.

The petitioners argued that the E15 labeling rule fails to satisfy the Clean Air Act, and that certain aspects are "arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion." They sought to overturn the rule that requires labels on gas pumps warning customers about which vehicles could not use E15. The petitioners argued that EPA had not done enough research to prove that the labels would adequately prevent customers from using E15 in vehicles that can’t handle the fuel.

EPG also challenged EPA’s denial of its petition asking EPA to mandate the continued sale of gasoline containing 10% or less ethanol — referred to as E10 — in order to prevent improper fueling. EPG said E15 will damage products sold by its members for whom "E10 is suitable but E15 is not."

Sales of E15 consistent with the regulation would "therefore expose EPG members to warranty claims, product liability lawsuits, recalls and reputational injury," EPG argued.

The court said that like API, EPG "failed to offer evidence connecting sales of E15 under the regulation to injuries that EPG members are sufficiently likely to suffer so as to afford it standing."

The court added in its published judgment that it "has accorded the issues full consideration and has determined that they do not warrant a published opinion."