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Lawsuit Filed Challenging Minnesota's Biodiesel Mandate

Wednesday, April 29, 2015  
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St. Paul, Minnesota – A coalition of vehicle and fuel industry organizations have stood up for Minnesota consumers and small businesses by filing suit in federal court alleging that Minnesota’s Biodiesel Content Mandate could create significant harm to vehicles that are not designed to be run using such fuel blends.


The mandate – which went into effect on July 1, 2014 – requires all diesel fuel sold in the state during the spring and summer months (April through September) contain at least 10 percent biodiesel (B10). Starting in 2018, if certain conditions are met, all diesel fuel sold in the state during those same months must contain at least 20 percent biodiesel (B20).


The mandate denies consumers in Minnesota access to the diesel fuel recommended for most diesel passenger vehicles and light trucks (up to B5) while likely raising fueling costs for all diesel vehicles, including those heavy-trucks that can accommodate higher blends.


The Minnesota Trucking Association, Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, American Petroleum Institute, and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers are suing Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency and Departments of Agriculture and Commerce with claims under Federal and Minnesota State laws including the Federal Clean Air Act and Minnesota Administrative Procedures Act.


In filing the lawsuit, the coalition issued the following statement:


“Given that the average age of a motor vehicle in Minnesota is 11.2 years, the State’s Biodiesel Content Mandate causes significant risk of harm to consumers and a broad range of businesses since most diesel-fueled passenger cars and light trucks were not designed for – and are not warranted to run on – biofuel blends of 10 or 20 percent.


“Use of such fuel blends could result in increased maintenance costs and engine problems for certain vehicle owners. These problems could impact manufacturers and dealers in the state through lost sales and increased warranty claims.


“In addition, through this mandate Minnesota is forcing the sale of what has historically been more costly fuel. The State is purposefully denying access to needed fuels recommended for use in many diesel vehicles while likely raising fueling costs for all diesel vehicles, including those heavy-duty trucks that are designed to accommodate higher blends.
“This lawsuit seeks to restore consumer choice.”


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The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is an association of 12 vehicle manufacturers including BMW Group, FCA USA LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group of America and Volvo Cars North America.


AFPM, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, is a trade association representing high-tech American manufacturers of virtually the entire U.S. supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, other fuels and home heating oil, as well as the petrochemicals used as building blocks for thousands of vital products in daily life. AFPM members make modern life possible and keep America moving and growing as they meet the needs of our nation and local communities, strengthen economic and national security, and support 2 million American jobs.


The Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association is a non-profit trade association representing all 367 franchised new car and truck dealers in Minnesota. The association conducts lobbying, legal research and information services for its dealer members.


The Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) is a non-profit trade association representing 700 member-trucking companies and allied firms from across the state. Its mission is to serve as the voice for a safe and successful Minnesota trucking industry. It does so by developing innovative and research-based policies that promote highway safety, educating policymakers and the public about the essential role that trucking plays in the economy, and promoting responsible policies that advance the trucking industry's environmental goals.