Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal for Year-Round E15 Sales

The highest court leaves in place the decision to restrict sale of the alternative fuel from June 1 to Sept. 15.
E-15 fuel

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal to offer year-round E15 — defined as containing between 10.5 percent to 15 percent ethanol — therefore restricting sale of the fuel blend to the summer period of June 1 to Sept. 15.

The move followed a decision in July, when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a 2019 move by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow year-round E15 sales.

Last year, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the EPA exceeded its authority when it implemented the year-round E15 policy in 2019. When implementing the action in 2019, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued the following statement: "Following President Trump's directive, today's action expands the market for biofuels and improves the [Renewable Fuel Standard] program by increasing transparency and reducing price manipulation. As President Trump promised, EPA is approving the year-round sale of E15 in time for summer driving season, giving drivers more choices at the pump."

Today, the U.S. Congress allows a blend of 10-percent ethanol to be sold year-round. Provisions of the Clean Air Act have prohibited the sale of certain fuels with a higher volatility from June 1 through Sept. 15 to limit smog.

Growth Energy, a biofuels industry group, filed a petition asking the justices to review the lower court’s ruling regarding E15. "Growth Energy will continue to explore all potential avenues to make unfettered access to E15 a reality," CEO Emily Skor said in a statement.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) also expressed its discontent with the Supreme Court decision.

"Coupled with inaction by Congress to pursue a legislative fix, today's decision by the Supreme Court to not review the E15 decision, while disappointing, underlines the need for states like Iowa to act to ensure E15 can be sold all year," said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. "It is now clear that no timely federal solution is coming. Therefore, it is time for a Midwest solution for year-round E15. We appreciated that eight Midwest governors, led by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, have already reached out to EPA to inquire about taking action at the state level. IRFA will do all we can to support the governors in taking the next steps to implement a Midwest solution so that consumers continue to have access to cleaner-burning E15 all year."