AGRIBUSINESS: Report Suggests Oil Companies Pressuring Local Dealers Against Ethanol Blends

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According to a new report out from the Renewable Fuels Association when compared to gas stations carrying a "Big-five" oil brand like BP or ExxonMobil, independent gas stations are 40 times more likely to offer an E-15 blend to consumers, and between four to six times more likely to offer E-85.

Last year, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission concerning the possibility that large oil companies could be violating anti-trust laws through pressures against ethanol blends at the local-retailer level.

Grassley says FTC responded with a cookie-cutter response, and no action.

With the new report, he and Klobuchar hope the FTC will wake up and see if laws are being violated.

Grassley says, "If you get E-15 pumps in, the oil companies know that they're going to have to sell more of a product and that people are going to want to buy more of a product, that they don't control, and they really don't want you putting anything in your tank that they don't control. And I think that this study shows that undue pressure is keeping filling stations from changing from E-10 to E-15 or E-85 to some extent as well."

According to he RFA report, less than one percent of branded stations offer E-15 or E-85, which is less than 300 stations out of 48,000 around the country.


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