Earlier, we mentioned the Renewable Fuels Association's report that most major oil companies are blocking the ethanol blends E15 and E85 from their gas stations. According to the RFA, "Distribution contracts routinely include provisions that make it difficult, needlessly expensive, or simply impossible for a retailer to offer consumers choices like E15 or E85." The report has the attention of two senators who want the Federal Trade Commission to look into the matter of Big Oil engaging in anti-competitive practices.
Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley (who isn't afraid of a little heat from Big Oil or otherwise) and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar (who chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust) have been looking to take the powerful oil companies to task on this issue for some time now. Last year, the Corn Belt duo sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and chairwoman Edith Ramirez of the Federal Trade Commission citing alleged abuses by oil companies and pressing for an investigation into whether oil companies are violating antitrust laws. As the issue arises again with the RFA report, Klobuchar says, "This new report underscores the need for the FTC to look into these allegations, and I will continue pushing to ensure that consumers have access to the cheaper, cleaner fuels they deserve."
"I will continue pushing to ensure that consumers have access to the cheaper, cleaner fuels they deserve." – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Oil companies have been calling for a repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires an increase of the volume of renewable fuel blended into gasoline and diesel through 2022. "Big oil interests can't argue for repeal of the RFS because it doesn't work when they're the ones responsible for ensuring that consumers don't have the choice for higher ethanol blends," says Grassley.
In the Renewable Fuel Association's "Consumer's Choice Report Card," most major oil companies received a failing grade, have less than one percent of their gas stations offering E15 or E85. Read more in Reuters.