Federal Judge Upholds Ethanol Mandate

The Federal District Court in Atlanta, Georgia has denied the state’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the implementation of the federal reformulated gasoline (RFG) program in Atlanta. In other words, the Atlanta area will have to use ethanol in their gasoline. According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Georgia classifies as a severe nonattainment area for ozone (smog) pollution and therefore the Clean Air Act requires the Atlanta region to use cleaner-burning RFG. As a result of the decision, RFG will be required in the Atlanta region beginning January 2005. One requirement of RFG is the addition of an oxygenate to make gasoline burn cleaner. Some cities and states in the U.S. have fought in court in order to get out of using an oxygenate since it can sometimes cost marginally more. The RFA said it is likely that gasoline suppliers to the Atlanta area will blend 10 percent ethanol in the RFG to meet the oxygenate requirement. The ethanol industry has expanded capacity to meet Atlanta’s estimated 250 million gallon per year ethanol demand.

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