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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Big Oil companies Exxon Mobil Corp., BP plc, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp. and Shell Energy North America all received poor grades in the Renewable Fuels Association's (RFA) Consumer Choice Report Card, released Tuesday.
The report grades fuel brands on whether they are providing consumers with alternatives to regular gasoline that cost less, reduce pollution and provide higher octane for better performance.
According to the RFA, of nearly 48,000 retail gas stations carrying one of the five Big Oil brands, fewer than 300 (0.6 percent) offer E85 or E15, earning an "F" grade. The RFA affixes an "F" grade to any company that has E15 or E85 at less than 1 percent of its gas stations.
"E85 and E15 are made with American renewable fuel that is better for your engine and your wallet, not to mention our environment and our economy, but not enough consumers have access to these alternatives,” said RFA President Bob Dinneen. “Unfortunately, the Big Oil companies are rigging the market to take away consumer choice and prevent many retailers from offering these clean, homegrown fuels.”
Conversely, the report revealed that independent gas stations are four to six times more likely to offer consumers E85 and 40 times more likely to offer E15 than their Big Oil counterparts.
Several companies earned an "A-plus" grade in the report, meaning that 25 percent or more of their gas stations offer E85 or E15 at the pump. These chains include Thorntons Inc., Kwik Trip Inc., Kum & Go LC, Break Time and Meijer. Speedway LLC, SuperAmerica and Cenex also earned strong grades of "B" or better.
As for reasons why some chains don't offer alternative fuels at many gas stations, the RFA cited distribution contracts that routinely include provisions that make it difficult or expensive for a retailer to offer fuels such as E15 and E85.