More Bad News For Ethanol - Lawsuit Seeks Class Action Status For Damages Caused by Ethanol Blended Gasoline

August 6, 2008 | Roger McEowen


A lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court claims that ethanol-blended gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol ruins engines by dissolving fuel-system parts and depositing contaminants.  The plaintiffs purchased fuel they believed contained 10 percent ethanol (Florida law, beginning in March of 2008 requires that all gas contain up to 10 percent ethanol), and encountered significant problems to their fuel systems and engines.  Diagnostice tests later revealed that the fuel they purchased contained greater than 10 percent ethanol.  It is a commonly known fact by those both inside and outside the industry that ethanol-blended gasoline absorbs water, and that a water-ethanol mixture is highly corrosive.  The lawsuit claims that the major oil companies know that current ethanol blending systems actually produce gasoline blends with more than 10 percent ethanol, which they then sell as "E-10" fuel, with the knowledge that the fuel will likely become contaminated with water and cause engine damage.  The suit also claims that the oil companies, by selling defective fuel, have breached the warranty of merchantability.  Durand, et al. v. Shell Oil Company, et al., No. 08-44569CA (Miami-Dade Co. Cir. Ct., 11th Jud. Dist., filed Aug. 1, 2008).