A new television ad that slams ethanol is fueling some controversy. The 30-second TV commercial, paid for by the American Petroleum Institute, features someone dressed as a mechanic criticizing the increased use of ethanol as a motor fuel.
"There's an EPA mandate that's bad news," the man in the ad said.
You may have seen it air this week. The oil industry group's new ad campaign urges the repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard - a six-year-old law which mandates blending gasoline with increasing volumes of ethanol.
"Their ad campaign is clearly politically motivated toward banning their competition," Ron Lamberty, Senior VP, American Coalition for Ethanol, said.
The ad claims E-15 and higher blends will damage your car engine. Lamberty said the RFS does not mandate E-15, and said it will not damage cars.
"The oil companies aren't worried that people are going to use this stuff and have their cars damaged. They're worried they're going to use it and it won't be damaged," Lamberty said.
The American Coalition for Ethanol is not the only company responding to the ad. One line in it is also getting attention from AAA.
"It's bad news for drivers, because higher ethanol means lower gas mileage and AAA says too much ethanol causes engine damage, which isn't covered under warranty, and that's good news for me," the man in the ad said.
In a AAA statement to KELOLAND News, a company spokesperson said the ad misrepresents AAA's position on E-15. The statement also said AAA, "remains a strong supporter of the development and use of alternative fuels such as ethanol."
The AAA spokesperson said the company is urging API to take the ad down.
API made a statement on its website, defending the ad, by stating, "The new ads are the first in a series designed to educate American consumers on why we must end this unworkable mandate."
Recently U.S. Senator Al Franken defended the Renewable Fuel Standard.
"The policy is helping to wean us off foreign oil and that is a good thing," Franken said.
Lamberty thinks this commercial is just the beginning.
"They've had a monopoly for 100 years and we finally got to a point where someone is seriously competing with them and they don't like that," Lamberty said.