Big oil begins media blitz to repeal RFS

Source: by Christopher Doering, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013

The American Petroleum Institute hasn’t hidden its dislike for the country’s Renewable Fuel Standard and now it’s taking its message to the airwaves through a sweeping media blitz to educate the public on why it must end.

API, which represents 500 oil and natural gas companies, said Monday it was launching “Fuel for Thought,” a new TV, radio, print and ad campaign on the dangers of the RFS — an 8-year-old law that requires refiners to produce alternative fuels to help reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy.

“These ads are the first in a series designed to educate American consumers on why we must end this unworkable mandate,” said Bob Greco, API’s downstream director. “These ads will encourage more Americans to tell the White House to fix the problem before it’s too late, while urging Congress to completely repeal the RFS.”

The ads feature a mechanic working on a car in a garage. They read, “the Higher Ethanol Mandate Could Damage Your Engine. . .And Void Your Warranty” and conclude that, “Your engine won’t like it, but your mechanic will.”

One place where the new API ads won’t be seen: Iowa. The Hawkeye State, the country’s largest ethanol producer, has 41 ethanol plants that produced 3.7 billion gallons during 2012, matching 2011 production.

Opponents of the RFS have argued higher ethanol blends such as E15, motor fuel that contains 15 percent of the corn-based fuel, damage cars and place consumers at risk. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to reform the RFS and ban any fuel blends with more than 10 percent ethanol, but so far the bills appear to be languishing in Congress.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, called the new API campaign “nothing more than an oil slick of misleading scare tactics.”

“What does it say about an industry so desperate to protect its monopoly that it distorts reality in a feeble effort to hoodwink consumers?” he said. “API is intentionally confusing a debate about E15 with the Renewable Fuel Standard, an important policy that is reducing our dependence on imported oil while saving consumers money at the pump. E15 is not mandated. E15 is a cost-saving, environment-protecting, oil addiction-breaking fuel alternative.