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Source: Renewable Michigan news release

NASCAR announced its drivers will have raced 6 million miles on E15 this week, but the oil industry is out to keep Michigan drivers stuck in the slow lane with "strong arm" tactics to block consumer access to E15.

An analysis of Michigan fuel consumption and savings with E15 gasoline-a new, high octane fuel that contains more homegrown, renewable fuels than regular E10 gas-shows that Michigan drivers would save between $221.3 and $664 million every year with E15.

"As we eclipse 6 million tough competition miles across our three national series, we can definitively say this renewable fuel stands up to our rigorous racing conditions while significantly reducing our impact on the environment," said NASCAR CEO Brian France in an earlier statement.

Made from the same locally made renewable fuels that support nearly 23,000 jobs here in Michigan, E15 is cleaner, cheaper and high octane, so it's better for engines. But reports have shown that big oil companies are bullying retail stations by using distribution contracts that make it almost impossible to sell the cleaner fuel.

"Big Oil companies are using every trick in the book to block competition from cleaner, cheaper renewable fuels," said Mark Fisk, state grassroots coordinator for Renewable Michigan.

"Michigan consumers should be able to make their own choices at the pump, not have those choices dictated by oil companies that are intent on protecting their profit-driven monopolies at any cost. NASCAR's milestone drives home the point that it's time to make clean, Michigan-made biofuels available for drivers and businesses across our state."

The evidence of those forceful tactics by the oil industry has prompted Sen. Chuck Grassley (R - Iowa) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D - Minnesota) to press the FTC for an investigation into the allegations.

"Big Oil likes to say it has no control over what's offered at the pumps of retail gas stations and franchisees-but the facts say otherwise," wrote Sens. Grassley and Klobuchar in a recent editorial, noting that a recent study of oil industry practices "shows how oil companies appear to be blocking the sale of greater volumes of renewable fuels through bullying business tactics."

In addition to calling for an investigation into oil industry tactics to block competition from renewable fuels, Sen. Grassley and Sen. Klobuchar have joined leaders across the nation in supporting America's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the most significant policy currently in place to ensure consumer access to cleaner, cheaper renewable fuels.

Advocates for cleaner, cheaper homegrown renewable fuels are calling on the Obama Administration to resist pressure from the oil industry and maintain a strong RFS.

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