Are Oil Companies Discouraging E85 Sales?

Cindy Zimmerman

This just in …
The Associated Press just put a story on the wire that Illinois officials are asking for an investigation into whether oil companies are keeping gas stations from offering ethanol-based E-85 fuel. The push for the inquiry is coming from U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Democratic governor is asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into why very few of the state’s 100 E85 fueling stations are located in the most populous county – that would be Cook, the home of Chicago. The AP story reports that his letter requests action on “potentially illegal policies by major petroleum companies that discourage the sale of biofuels.”
Meanwhile, Senator Obama is getting together with Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) to ask the GAO to look into the issue. Obama’s office has reportedly obtained “an internal memorandum from a major petroleum company” that says gas station franchise owners are prohibited from selling non brand name renewable fuels like E85 and B20 from fuel islands or underneath canopies bearing the oil company’s name or logo. The memo also said that any alternative location of fuel pumps dispensing alternative fuels must be approved. Read the press release from Obama’s office here.

Ethanol, Government