Big Oil Using Distribution Monopoly to Keep Low-Cost, Homegrown E15 Out of Iowa

Press Contact: Monte Shaw


E15 Retailer Says His Customers Want E15, but Big Oil Refuses to Make the Proper Blendstock Available

JOHNSTON, IA – Linn Coop Oil Company today announced that Big Oil’s fuel distribution monopoly is forcing them to discontinue E15 sales during the summer.  Because E15 is the lowest cost fuel for most motorists, this move hits Iowans pocket books even as gasoline prices are rising.

“Here at Linn Coop, we want to sell homegrown fuels and my customers want to take advantage of clean-burning, low-cost fuels like E15, but refiners are using their monopoly to keep me from offering E15 year-round,” stated Linn Coop Oil Company service manager Jim Becthold.  “I hear Big Oil state that retailers don’t want to sell E15 and consumers don’t want to buy it.  That is flat wrong.  The truth is that Big Oil doesn’t want retailers and consumers to even have the option of E15.”

Earlier this year a number of Iowa’s E15 retailers sent a letter to the oil refiners supplying Iowa asking them to provide the proper summertime gasoline blendstock for E15.  The letter noted that such fuels are already transported by the pipeline servicing Iowa.  Yet, as of the June 1st summertime deadline, no oil refiner allowed Iowa retailers access to the necessary fuel.  That refusal forced Linn Coop Oil Company and Iowa’s other E15 retailers to stop selling E15 as a registered fuel to 2001 and newer vehicles.

U.S. Representative Bruce Braley (Iowa), who joined Becthold at his station today to discuss the situation, stated:  “With the price of gas surging in the Midwest, Iowans should have as many choices at the pump as possible. With their actions, oil companies are essentially restricting the sale of E15, a fuel option that helps reduce the price of gasoline. That’s why they should immediately reverse course and agree to ship blendstock that allows the sale of E15 to more drivers.”

Braley is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that has jurisdiction over the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

 “Big Oil’s distribution monopoly is very real and very powerful, and the proof is right in front of you,” added IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw.  “Linn Coop is being forced to temporarily suspend selling E15 as a registered fuel for the summer months, simply because refiners won’t provide access to the proper E15 blendstock, even though retailers like Jim want to sell it and his consumers want to buy it.”

For more background information, please click here.

Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production.  Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.7 billion gallons annually, with one wet mill 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.