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Automakers suing over new ethanol requirements

Scott Tong Dec 22, 2010
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Automakers suing over new ethanol requirements

Scott Tong Dec 22, 2010
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The ethanol industry wants more of its corn-based fuel mixed into gasoline. Just a couple of months ago, the EPA said OK. But wait. Yesterday the corporate interests that stand to lose filed a lawsuit to halt everything.

From the sustainability desk, here’s Marketplace’s Scott Tong..


Scott Tong: The EPA rule under fire allows gasoline with more ethanol stirred in: 15 percent instead of 10. Automakers are suing, on grounds that ethanol burns hotter, and thus could damage car innards.

Gloria Bergquist speaks for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Gloria Bergquist: Ethanol does tend to be more corrosive. So there’d need to be some changes made to the vehicles to take greater blends.

Blends that have not been tested enough, say the automakers. Also pouting are the oil refiners. The EPA rule squeezes their main product, says Kevin Book at Clearview Energy Partners.

Kevin Book: Any barrel of ethanol that comes in crowds out a barrel of gasoline and weakens the refiners’ margin.

Ethanol makers says the winners are agricultural jobs, and their fuel is renewable — though detractors say processing ethanol emits more greenhouse gases than burning gasoline.

As for the EPA rule, some analysts predict a Beltway compromise — where those of us in the real world end up pumping gas with around 12 percent ethanol mixed in.

In Washington, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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