WASHINGTON, July 22, 2014 – Senators Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Amy Klobuchar, D- Minn., have asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into possible anticompetitive practices involving certain big oil companies.In a letter to the agencies, Grassley and Klobuchar said they believe some oil companies are attempting to undermine the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which established the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
They cited a study by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) which shows how some oil companies block the sale of renewable fuels like ethanol. The RFA represents the ethanol industry.
The lawmakers said that the report found that unbranded or independent stations are roughly four to six times more likely to offer E85 (gasoline that contains 85 percent ethanol) and 40 times more likely to offer E15 than stations carrying a “Big Five” oil brand, referring to five major oil companies.
The senators asked that the DOJ and FTC review the RFA report and reply with an evaluation regarding possible anticompetitive behavior, along with any proposed solutions or actions the agencies will take to resolve this issue.
In August, Grassley and Klobuchar wrote to the DOJ and FTC requesting that the agencies investigate possible anticompetitive practices by oil companies. The agencies responded that they would look into the allegations, but no further communication occurred.
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