Oil lobby launches new campaign against ethanol mandate

Oil lobby launches new campaign against ethanol mandate
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The top oil and gas lobby group is launching a new advertising campaign against the federal ethanol mandate. 

The American Petroleum Institute (API) will run a “multifaceted advocacy campaign” against the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the next month ahead of a deadline for the Obama administration to finalize three years of standards under the mandate. 

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Bob Greco, the group director of API’s downstream and industry operations, said Wednesday that the campaign would include television, radio and online ads, focused on “the negative consequences higher ethanol mandates could have on consumers.” The campaign will be targeted at the Washington, D.C. market.

API’s campaign comes as the public fight over the fuel standard heats up. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new ethanol blending requirements for three years in May, and the agency is required to finalize those targets by the end of November.

Oil groups say the federal government is already requiring refiners to blend as much ethanol as possible into their gasoline and they are resisting the EPA's proposed targets.

Ethanol supporters, however, say the agency should set an even higher goal for refiners. A group of senators met with Obama officials earlier this month to take their case directly to the White House.

API's ads call the RFS "Washington red tape" and blame it for raising fuel prices and hurting the environment.

“Ultimately Congress has the responsibility to repeal or significantly reform this outdated and potentially dangerous program,” Greco said Wednesday. 

But because congressional action isn’t likely any time soon, he said API’s ad campaign will “focus on the administration, on the president, because that’s where the review will be happening.”