Ethanol, Big Oil continue to spar

Source: Dan Piller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Friday, July 13, 2012

Ethanol, Big Oil are fighting over control of the gas pump

While most of the country is watching the Presidential race or, perhaps, the extended debate over health care, biofuels and the oil industry are off the corner trading chops.

On Thursday the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association expressed unhappiness with a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee to vote out its version of the Farm Bill that excludes blender pumps dispensing E15 from assistance under the farm bill.

“”All too often over the past year, the House seems more interested in carrying the water to protect Big Oil’s near monopoly on fuel than in providing American consumers with the freedom to choose their own fuel – perhaps a lower-cost ethanol blend – at the pump,” said Monte Shaw, executive director ofthe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

Shaw, a longtime Republican Party activist, continued his diatribe against the Republican-controlled House: “The House has voted to ban E15, to end the biofuels tax credits, and to discriminate against blender pumps. Yet, the House has done nothing to end the ‘Century of Subsidies’ for Big Oil, to end the federal loan guarantee program for petroleum pipelines, to break up the petroleum distribution monopoly, or to remove the federal 85 percent petroleum mandate. It’s becoming quite an embarrassing record for the House and voters in Iowa are taking note.”

Shaw’s crankiness was no doubt enhanced by a warning from the American Petroleum Institute Thursday cautioning motorists in Kansas from using E15 in their cars.

In a statement, Bob Greco, downstream group director of the API, said “we need to press the pause button on EPA’s rush to allow higher amounts of ethanol in our gasoline. The new fuel could lead to engine damage in more than 5 million vehicles on the road today and could void the manufacturer’s warranty.”

We probably haven’t heard the last on this.