August 21, 2013
Petroleum refiners claim the national renewable fuels standard is broken and cannot be fixed. Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Klobuchar (D-MN) reported they have heard allegations that some refiners have united in an effort to block higher ethanol blends. As a result, the Senators have requested that the Justice Department and FTC investigate. Specifically, they are asking whether alleged efforts to block introduction of renewable fuels required by the RFS violate the Sherman Act and Gasohol Competition Act of 1980.
In an August 2 letter, Grassley and Klobuchar allege that the oil industry is requiring retail stations to stock premium gasoline as part of their franchise agreements in order to block retailers from stocking higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) asked the Justice Department, FTC, Energy Department, and Agriculture Department to launch a similar investigation back in March.