The U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit has sided with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its partial waiver approval for E15 ethanol fuel for model year 2001 and newer light duty vehicles and all flex fuel vehicles, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). This represents nearly two-thirds of all vehicles on the road and almost 75 percent of vehicle miles driven. The finding was announced Friday morning.

Since the initial waiver filing in March 2009, vehicles were tested using E15 for a combined six million miles, health effects data on E15 was collected and approved, and a first of its kind misfueling mitigation plan was required and approved in order for retailer to offer E15, according to RFA. At least one station in Lawrence, KS, is selling E15 under the conditions set by the partial waiver.

“Today’s decision is an important step forward in the nation’s quest to diversify our nation’s fuel supply,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen.  “Adding an E15 option along side E10 and higher ethanol blends allows consumers to make the fuel decisions that work best for them and their vehicle. 

The American Petroleum Institute (API) was disappointed by the Court’s divided decision saying EPA approved E15 before vehicle testing was complete, and that the fuel may cause significant mechanical problems in millions of cars on the road today, according to an announcement from the group. “Today’s court decision is a big loss for consumers, for safety and for our environment,” said Bob Greco, API downstream group director.

Automobile manufacturers have told Congress that vehicle warranties will not cover damage due to E15, according to API.