Big Oil Challenging E15?

Zarco 66 told to pull ethanol blend for premium full: Report

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- The Renewable Fuels Association is calling for a multi-agency investigation after a recent incident involving Zarco 66 Inc., the convenience store company that opened the first E15 pump in the nation in July.

Zarco 66 has offered E85 at its gas stations for years, RFA said, but it wasn’t until after the company began offering E15 that the oil industry began viewing ethanol as more than a gimmick that could pose a threat to its monopoly on the transportation fuels market, according to a report in Ethanol Producer Magazine.

“ConocoPhillips quickly threatened to terminate Zarco 66’s franchise agreement and charge Zarco 66 hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties unless Zarco 66 started offering ‘premium’ gasoline,” said RFA’s Bob Dinneen, president and CEO, according to the magazine, “gasoline that would replace the ethanol housed in one of Zarco 66’s fueling tanks, and a gasoline that is likely to result in far fewer sales than the ethanol blends that would be available if Zarco 66 maintained the current ethanol contents.”

RFA sent a three-page letter to the U.S. EPA, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. DOE and USDA dated March 19, requesting each of the agencies investigate and put an end to the “oil industry’s highly discriminatory and unlawful conduct--conduct that is impeding the delivery of renewable fuels to the American marketplace,” the letter said. “Otherwise, Zarco 66 will simply represent the first casualty in the oil industry’s war against the marketing and delivery of cheaper, more sustainable renewable fuels.”

So far, Zarco 66 has not begun offering premium gasoline, Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco 66, told Ethanol Producer Magazine.“ I am a true believer in energy independence, alternatives [and] domestic fuels,” he said, “and I will continue to fight for that, because I believe that is what is in the best interest of our country.”

Click here to read the complete Ethanol Producer Magazine report.