While the Renewable Fuels Association’s (RFA) release of its Consumer Choice Report Card showed large oil companies are failing the public when it comes to offering E85 and E15, some Iowa retailers received A+ grades for offering consumers cleaner-burning, more homegrown renewable fuels.
“Oil companies like to complain that consumers won’t buy E85 and E15, but the simple truth is that oil companies are failing to give consumers that choice,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Conversely, we’ve seen that if you empower the consumer with fuel choice, they choose lower-cost, cleaner-burning ethanol blends. Iowa is on a run of record E85 sales with chains like Kum & Go and Kwik Trip leading the way. Independent Iowa retailers are also expanding access to E15 with incredible success, making Iowa the nation’s leader. Unfortunately, oil companies are able to prevent their branded retailers from expanding consumer fuel choice.”
“Cynically, oil companies frequently cite a shortage of fueling infrastructure as a reason why the EPA should lower the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard,” stated RFA President Bob Dinneen. “Yet, as demonstrated in this analysis, the oil industry itself has deliberately created this shortage by making it as difficult and burdensome as possible for retail gas stations to offer greater volumes of renewable fuels. Like a child who breaks all of his pencils and then tells his parents he can’t do his homework, the oil industry should not be permitted to claim it is not possible to expand renewable fuels consumption when it is taking calculated steps to stifle the broad introduction of E85, E15 and other fuels.”
The Consumer Choice Report Card is part of a new report from the RFA titled “Protecting the Monopoly: How Big Oil Covertly Blocks the Sale of Renewable Fuels.” The report exposes how the “Big Five” oil companies, along with a number of leading refiners, are engaging in strong arm tactics and covert practices to prevent and discourage the sale of renewable fuels, especially at stations carrying their brand name.
Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing more than 3.8 billion gallons annually, including 2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol production and two cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.