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.

"I will continue pushing to ensure that consumers have access to the cheaper, cleaner fuels they deserve." – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

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."

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.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      • 5 Months Ago
      Even though adding ethanol to gasoline has its benefits, for the seasonal engine its a bane. Many boaters and winter vehicle users had to incur extra repair and even replacement expenses because ethanol becomes destructive if it is not used in a short period of time. The metallurgy of power plants has to be formulated to handle the burning of ethanol so the "cheaper to consumer" pitch is a farce except to those that only drive cars. I get the impression that these politicians that are pushing higher ethanol usage do not really care about the every day consumer.
      really now
      • 5 Months Ago
      Ethanol ruins internal combustion engines. IT HAS NO BENEFIT TO THE CONSUMER IT ONLY RUINS YOUR ENGINE!!!... Get it out..
      Barry Miller
      • 5 Months Ago
      U.S. senators need to talk to their constituents why they are not buying E85. I don't want the 10% that is in the gas now. I lost 5 MPG when the degraded crappy gasoline was forced on us at the pump many years ago. I would also like them to ask their people how many have lost the cars to fire from the fuels systems that the alcohol ruined. I bet the number would astound you.
        Technoir
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Barry Miller
        You are a paid shill. Ethanol has been used by Brazil for decades, with no issues reported.
          jack smith
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Technoir
          @Technoir Different designs, different compressions, different fuel lines. There is a reason why even E10 was messing up many vehicles, and there is also a reason why twelve international automakers stated that E15 WOULD indeed cause damage and void warranties. Ten of those twelve automakers were none other than Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Corporation, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Honda Motor Company, Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors Corporation, Mazda Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Company, Volkswagen AG and Volvo Car Corporation. Considering that most of those automakers do not have warranties that last longer than 3 years/36k miles, that simple fact should lead someone (or at least, someone with a little sense), to the realization that the damage E15 would do isn't limited to older vehicles. I honestly don't care what else you might have to say, if you wish to argue, then go forth and argue with those 12 automakers and their engineers. Post their responses as well, if you would be so kind, I'd love to read it.
      bruce
      • 5 Months Ago
      For once I can agree with the oil companies. Even if they made E-85 cost 10 cents a gallon, I would't use it. Not only does it decrease the vehicle's fuel mileage, but it destroys the engines and fuel system. Many people see E-85 priced way below regular gas and believe it to be a good deal. Little do they know.
      Ziv
      • 5 Months Ago
      Ethanol just kills your mpg. I took a roadtrip to West Virginia in my 350Z and expected to get my usual 25 to 30 mpg, depending on how vigorously I drove. And that is exactly what I got the first two days. Then I filled up on E0 gasoline in Staunton, no ethanol at all. And I drove home looking at my mpg readout slowly climb up to 34 mpg. I figured it was reading it wrong so I drove around a bit more and then hit the gas station. 190.1 miles and I only needed 5.5 gallons to click the pump off 3 times. 34.56 mpg. More than 10% better than my previous best mpg for 63 mph road trips.
        FordGo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Ziv
        Are you saying you filled up at the entrance ramp and then drove on the highway only and got 34.56 mpg? You need to do exactly the same trip measuring highway mileage. My Honda Insight, rated at 40 mpg highway, can deliver 50 mpg on the "right" highway, especially if you just gas up on the highway and only drive on the highway, with zero city miles.
          SteveG
          • 5 Months Ago
          @FordGo
          If we want to play that game you can do much better than 50mpg.
          Ziv
          • 5 Months Ago
          @FordGo
          Steve, never mind, I didn't realize who you were pointing that comment at. LOL!
          Ziv
          • 5 Months Ago
          @FordGo
          Steve, I have tried to drive 55 mph, but I just can't do it for more than a minute or two, with one exception. My mpg runs started 27 years ago in an '81 Toyota Tercel, and 62 mph was as fast as it would go without developing an irritating whine, and the speed has stuck for my annual runs. The odd thing is that in my Volt the efficiency goes downhill fast as I go faster than 62-62 mph. Which, coincidentally is 100 kph. I wonder if the Volt is tuned to deliver high efficiency at 100 kph. It isn't like it is geared or anything but maybe the GM engineers figured that that speed was a good place to compromise speed vs. efficiency, somehow. I have done 45-50 mph runs in my Volt on a riverside parkway, and you are right, the efficiency is noticeably higher at 45-50 mph. I have gotten as much as 5 miles per kWh, which is pretty impressive for someone that isn't very good at hyper-miling.
          Ziv
          • 5 Months Ago
          @FordGo
          Pretty much. I am not going for the world record so I filled up in downtown Staunton then drove home to northern Virginia. I thought that the dash mpg read out looked good so I filled up as soon as I got home instead of waiting, but this is the same technique I used for other mpg runs I have made over the past couple years. They are usually around 98% hwy miles and 2% getting to the hwy or hitting stop lights. I measure all my fuel ups on Fuelly dot com and my Z mpg goes up and down, depending on how I am driving. http://www.fuelly.com/car/nissan/350z/2004/Ziv/111388
        Louis MacKenzie
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Ziv
        That's because you own a sports car, yet too lazy to tune it properly. Many sports car owners are now tuning their cars to take advantage of increased ethanol blends to gain more performance. And your readings might not be correct, depending on how heavy your foot is at given times or how many times you have to slow down from certain speeds. I get 30 MPG in mixed driving with my Miata NC rated 28 MPG Highway. And I don't drive easy up on the hills I drive around.
          PeterScott
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Louis MacKenzie
          You can't tune for any benefit from E10, it has the same octane as regular gas. Some poeple tune for E85, which has significantly higher octane, but then you are stuck and can only run E85. And even with a tune E85 will lose about 30% of your gas mileage.
          Ziv
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Louis MacKenzie
          Louis, I measure the gallons used vs. the miles driven and I drive a steady 62-63 mph on my mileage runs. The dash is just an estimate in my book. I use my Z as more of a touring car and I am not going to tune it for better mpg. I love to drive but I haven't tuned anything since I sold my last YZ125 back in the day. The point remains, that my annual fuel efficiency runs have been around 30-31 mpg, and this year the use of gasoline with no ethanol in it yielded nearly 12% better mpg. That is pretty impressive. Can you imagine if every car in the US got a 12% increase in its mpg? http://www.fuelly.com/car/nissan/350z/2004/Ziv/111388
        Jim
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Ziv
        If you are buying gas with zero ethanol, then you are buying gas with some other oxygenate such as MTBE, which is carcinogenic and contributes to pronounced groundwater pollution. I'll take the lower mpg.
      jacko
      • 5 Months Ago
      Ethanol reduces gas mileage and damages engines. It is utterly devoid of benefit to energy independence. Putting it in gas is a destructive giveaway to big agribusiness. GET ALL ETHANOL OUT OF OUR GAS. MY LAWNMOWER WON'T START!
      Chuck Langer
      • 5 Months Ago
      I am from Minnesota and I hope Amy Klobuchar pushes for cheaper fuel and while she's at it she should push for cheaper food. It cost over 30% more to use E85 verses gasoline in a flex vehicle (compare at fueleconomy.gov). Now in Minnesota they are pushing a higher rate of biodiesel in semi's and the truck drivers are seeing similar results as ethanol in gas. It's time to remove the mandates and allow ethanol to stand on it's own merits. Recent studies have shown totally removing ethanol would have the same environmental impact as taking over 5 million cars off the road. If this program were treated the same as coal plants it would be shutdown.
      gslippy
      • 5 Months Ago
      If the oil companies are blocking ethanol, I applaud them.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Turning food in to fuel does nothing but raise the price of food.
      • 5 Months Ago
      If the feds want to sell more ethanol, then drop the federal tax on E85. A drop of $0.15/gal will increase sales. E10 is more ethanol than I want now. What about the lack of choice to buy no ethanol?
      goodoldgorr
      • 5 Months Ago
      What about offering natural gas also with the liquid gas. We can start to sell bi-fuel natural gas cars and gasoline so you fill-up both tank and the range is very long and the pollution level is lower, also natural gas is sourced domestically and no need to flare it in the air like they do in a lot of place. The ethanol that is made with corn should be prohibited, please feed the beef and I need milk and meat.
        Jim
        • 5 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        I've never understood the logic of people who use food supply as their excuse for being pro-oil yet anti-ethanol. Yes, ethanol is synthesized from cow corn. But natural gas and petroleum are the main feedstock for synthesizing agricultural fertilizer. Every bit of NG and oil you burn could otherwise be used as fertilizer to boost food production.
          lne937s
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Jim
          The largest portion of petroleum-based nitrogen fertilizer goes to grow corn to make ethanol. Corn that depletes nitrogen from the soil and is planted year after year due to higher prices, requiring artificial fertilizers in higher and higher concentrations. If we reduced the demand for corn, more crop rotation with plants that naturally fix nitrogen (e.g. buckwheat, soybeans) would occur and the need for petroleum-based nitrogen fertilizers would go down. In other words, corn (removes nitrogen) would be planted in the field one year and soybeans (adds nitrogen) would be planted the next year to prevent depleting the soil... rather than planting corn every year, depleting the soil and having to use petroleum-based nitrogen fertilizer. Artificial fertilizers are also not without their negatives. Runoff kills streams. There is a big dead zone in the Gulf caused largely by fertilizer runoff http://science.time.com/2013/06/19/this-years-gulf-of-mexico-dead-zone-could-be-the-biggest-on-record/
      FordGo
      • 5 Months Ago
      Lesson: The Republican Oil Lobby has NO Loyalty to it's former partners, shock.
    • Load More Comments