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    Oil Cos. Can't Deny Ethanol to Their Stations

    The new Energy Independence and Security Act includes a provision that allows franchisees to install qualified alternative fuel equipment.

    WASHINGTON -- With the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act by the President earlier this week, gas retailers' rights to sell alternative fuel are protected through a provision, the Chesterton Tribune reported.

    "While there are a number of reasons why ethanol has yet to mature on the market, a significant contributing factor is that many of the big oil companies use a variety of strategies to make it difficult for their franchised gas stations to offer ethanol," U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D.-Ind.) said in a statement cited by the Tribune. "For example, the standard contract issued by many big oil companies prevents franchisees from purchasing fuel from anyone other than the franchise supplier. Since many suppliers do not sell E85, the stations within that franchise cannot either."

    The new act, called "Promoting the Use of Mixed Petroleum Act (PUMP)," amends the previous Petroleum Marketing Practices Act to forbid an oil company from restricting the right of a franchisee to install qualified alternative fuel pumps, including E85 at stations.

    "When faced with the possibility of losing profits, big oil companies have sought to eliminate the competition by prohibiting franchisees from selling alternative fuels," Donnelly noted in his statement. "These tactics not only limit consumer choice, but also protect big oil profits and reinforce our dependence on nonrenewable fuel sources. In passing the Energy Independence and Security Act, we are taking a crucial step in expanding the availability of E85 so more Americans can take advantage of this clean fuel made from corn grown right here in Indiana."

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