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The Federal Trade Commission is investigating claims by two members of Congress that oil companies are blocking retail gas stations from selling gasoline mixed with extra ethanol.

The controversy centers on gasoline containing 15% ethanol.

Oil producers and refiners are lobbying for repeal of a U.S. law requiring refiners to use more corn ethanol and renewable fuels.

The oil companies say consumers don’t want more ethanol in their gasoline.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) asked the FTC to investigate reports of oil companies pushing gas stations to sell both premium and regular gasoline.

Most stations own only two storage tanks so they can’t also sell higher ethanol blends.

The home states of Klobuchar and Grassley are major ethanol producers.

Given the implication these alleged activities…could have on competition in the marketplace, we urge you to investigate them and consider whether any action is necessary, they said in an Aug. 2 letter to the FTC that described the oil companies’ alleged actions as a possible antitrust violation.

Source: Wall Street Journal