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By Staff | Nov 15, 2013

Ethanol is not the first time Big oil’s monopoly has been challenged.

According to the History Channel and the series, “The Men Who Built America,” when electricity began to challenge the monopoly that JD Rockefeller had built with his control of the kerosene market dominating lighting, he spread lies that electricity was dangerous, trying to discredit Edison’s and JP Morgan’s budding electricity industry.

They say that history repeats itself, or more accurately according to Mark Twain, it rhymes.

As they were back then, the petroleum industry is still adept today at manipulating public opinion to protect their monopoly. Rockefeller saw to it that Ford’s ethanol production was shut down by prohibition and when prohibition ended, that Ford’s autos ran on gasoline.

The lies the petroleum industry tells about E-15 trying to put worry in the minds of consumers over ethanol are absolutely a repeat of Rockefeller’s attack on electricity.

They use E-25 in all vehicles in Brazil, but we are told that U.S. vehicles will turn into pumpkins with E-15 in the tank. The petroleum industry wants to let the market decide what fuel to use as long as they are in control of the market and to deny consumer’s access to E-15 when they fear consumers will make that choice.

I love how BP commercials start out talking about the commitment they made to the Gulf like their oil spill was some grand contribution to the Gulf economy.

They use their lawyers and they use their politicians and they use their ad agencies effectively for self-service to protect their economic interests.

There is really not anything mysterious here except maybe how gullible a significant segment of the public is for believing the petroleum industry’s malarkey. It will be interesting to see if the Environmental Protection Agency has bought into the petroleum industry’s claim that there is a 10 percent blend wall and EPA will actually help the petroleum industry by capping the ethanol market when they announce the 2014 RFS.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw noted, “All too often the debate in DC is disconnected from the real world, and the debate surrounding the bogus E10 blend wall is no different.

“There is no E10 blend wall. Everywhere higher blends have been offered, consumers have responded positively. Rather, there are frivolous ethanol access restrictions that is being systematically heightened by Big Oil through lies, lawsuits, and legislative attacks in an attempt to preserve its fuel monopoly.

In truth, the RFS is the only tool we have to combat Big Oil’s fear mongering and provide consumers the opportunity to choose lower cost, cleaner burning ethanol blends like E15 and E85.”

IRFA released the first month of sales data for E15 in Iowa following its Sept. 16 reintroduction. The six registered E15 retailers in Iowa reporting data sold 23,959 gallons of registered E15 in only one month, enough to make more than 19 trips around the world.

Each of the retailers also offers other higher blends for flexible fuel vehicles, including E85. Averaged across all fuel blends, ethanol accounted for roughly 25 percent of the retailers’ gasoline sales.

This level of ethanol sales far exceeds the scheduled RFS levels for years to come.”

“We have real world data on higher blend ethanol sales and the facts are clear,” Shaw said. “In Iowa, and to my knowledge around the country, every retailer that offers higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85 exceeds the percentage of conventional renewables called for by the Renewable Fuel Standard – in 2014 and far beyond.

This proves consumers will buy enough higher ethanol blends to exceed the RFS if given a chance.

If policymakers compare Big Oil’s hypothetical blend wall horror stories to real world data they quickly learn it’s not that you can’t sell these ethanol blends – it’s that Big Oil refuses to do so.”

While the petroleum industry is trying to get the EPA to help them reinforce the blending wall, ethanol exports are starting to amount to something.

Ethanol exports through August stood at 365 million gallons which means they will export over a half billion gallons of ethanol his year.

Canada took the most ethanol, then the Philippines, and the UK. Peru took 1.7 million gallons of denatured ethanol. China ought to become the largest buyer of US ethanol as a fuel component to help clean up its dirty air.

Not long ago I had confidence that the Obama administration was smarter than that, but when you see the sting of blunders that has accompanied his second term you come to almost expect that they will choose wrong.

This President has prided himself on being “no drama Obama,” but if the White House agrees to the petroleum industry’s monopoly over what fuel blend that consumers can buy at the pump to scale back the RFS, they have lost their minds.

History does rhyme.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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