New Ethanol Ad Campaign Tackles 'Big Oil Propaganda'

Growth Energy says ad campaign is attempt to bring down oil industry's monopoly

Published on: Aug 27, 2013

Ethanol industry advocacy group Growth Energy Monday unveiled the first in a series of website, television, newspaper and social media ads aimed at encouraging consumers to learn more about the ethanol industry and the tactics of its primary foe, "big oil."

The multi-million dollar campaign, collectively called "You're No Dummy," will appear nationally on cable news networks such as FOX, CNN, MSNBC and RFD-TV, as well as several local markets.

"It is high time consumers get a reality check from big oil's propaganda designed to protect their market share and enable their monopolistic behavior," said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. "Oil companies are not willing to give up any of their market share and they will do anything to protect their profits – plain and simple.

Growth Energy says ad campaign is attempt to bring down oil industrys monopoly
Growth Energy says ad campaign is attempt to bring down oil industry's monopoly

"It's David versus Goliath. But the biofuels industry will no longer tolerate misleading information and nor should the American public," Buis said. "Our message is simple – you're no dummy. Don't let the oil industry treat you like one."

Jobs, U.S. growth

Growth Energy Board Co-Chair Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, during the campaign's unveiling, said it is also focused on showing consumers that there is a fuel choice available that will help create American jobs and keep consumers' money in the country.

"Every year at least 300 billion dollars of hard-earned family income (is) sucked out of the country to pay for imported oil," Clark said. "At a time when unrest is escalating across the Middle East from Egypt to Syria, to Lebanon to Vietnam, we should not be sending more American dollars to fund these regimes."

Clark said a key to reducing foreign oil is the Renewable Fuel Standard, which this year mandates production of 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuels.

"Our Renewable Fuel Standard helps reduce American dependence on foreign oil. And using more homegrown fuel like ethanol means less American soldiers risking their lives for dirty and deadly foreign oil."


RFS reductions

The group also dismissed the prospect of legislation to eliminate or reduce the RFS, standing by the EPA's authority to monitor the ethanol market.

"It's always hard to predict what happens under that capitol dome, but if you just look at all the legislative items in the queue that they haven't been able to deal with yet – and they are only in for a short number of days in September – it's pretty hard to see them moving forward," Buis said, speculating that this summer's House committee review of the RFS created more awareness about the policy's benefits.

But even though the legislature may not have time to consider alterations the RFS, the EPA earlier this month indicated that it may scale back volume mandates based on the economy's demand for renewable fuels.

Though the EPA didn't offer any hard numbers, Buis said Growth Energy supports the agency's role in the RFS.

"We don't feel (legislative) changes are necessary and here's why – the EPA has the authority to address any changes with RFS. They indicated that they are monitoring this very closely and I don't know why anyone would want legislative changes when the authority already exists," Buis said.

FTC review

Despite pushback from some legislators, Growth Energy's campaign release coincides with an August request from Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate alleged anti-competitive practices by oil companies.

In a statement regarding the request, Grassley specifically noted ongoing spars between oil and ethanol industries.

"The allegations from retailers about possible anticompetitive practices from Big Oil are disheartening, but not surprising, knowing the lengths Big Oil will go to in order to keep biofuels out of the fuel supply," Grassley said.

The two Senators suggested oil companies may be undermining efforts to distribute renewable fuels, including higher ethanol gasoline blends. The FTC subsequently announced that it will evaluate and investigate the situation.

Add Comment
  1. t. Freeman says:

    Following the viewing of the "Slick and Dummy" ad several times I was compelled to look-up who was responsible or involved with it and express my views. I was extremely disappointed to learn it was the agricultural / farming community. First I'd say your claim that "Big Oil" has /is a monopoly is correct, and obvious. That's because fossil fuels moves this nation. Conversely Farming feeds this nation and the world. While ethanol can stretch the volume of gasoline it comes with many costs. I have personally spent hundreds of dollars and many hours repairing the damages to my small engines and boat motors because of the use of ethanol. If you have ANY doubts about the truth behind my comments I invite you to call any small engine shop or outboard motor repair shop and ask them what is the number one problem they encounter. Go ahead do it ! Your ad is a LIE. Ethanol is damaging and destroying internal combustion engines. I support agriculture, but don't lie to Americans and please stick to producing food.

  2. TxTumbleweed says:

    I've seen this ad several times now. The production is AWFUL! The dialogue of the dummy is garbled and almost impossible to make out. I sure hope Growth Energy didn't pay much for that amateurish clap-trap! Bad premise, bad production equals embarrassment for us all. TAKE IT OFF!!!

  3. TxTumbleweed says:

    After arguing the case for biofuels all over the web for three years, I can confidently attest that Growth Energy has completely missed who their enemy really is. No surprise to me, since most folks won't touch it with a ten foot pole. I was a year or more into the fight before I stumbled onto the origination of the major argument against Ethanol - FOOD for FUEL! The Catholic Church is behind that particular idea, which is the most prominently argued point we face. Somehow we are to save all the U.S. corn not fed to animals, for the poor starving, third-world unwashed, who have NO money to pay for it. No problem for the collectivist Church, who has no qualms accusing us of being less than generous toward those with no money. I repeatedly ask, "WHO will pay"? Evidently we are now the World's breadbasket, and even third world indiscriminate breeders have a RIGHT to be fed by US decadent Americans. WHO KNEW?. We live interesting times, don't we? Attempting to brand BIG OIL a "foe" of mainstream Americans, or to get American farmers to join this fight during the current fracking boom, is a FOOL'S ERRAND! WHO devised this doomed, multi-million dollar campaign? It will be a monumental BOONDOGGLE of Solyndra proportion. Pre-Obama, under the former American capitalist system, oil companies are not expected to "give up... marketshare". In the capitalistic system that made us all prosperous, you TAKE marketshare, if you can - and IF you can't you sit the hell down and shut the hell up. I found particularly interesting the position of the paragraph wherein it was admitted that we now produce more ethanol than we can use, so pretending that corn producers are in some sort of fight for fuel marketshare is not logical, and is ludicrous. It will NOT fly over the heads of the American consumer. I recently read a piece indicating that the future of biofuels is in exports. Beef prices are already high, ad will go higher before they reverse, so exporting fuel made from corn and soy will require some serious PR wrangling. I won't bet the farm that Growth Energy can pull it off. Hiring that unprincipled hack, Wes Clark is an embarrassment. He has been nothing buy a colossal failure, since he did Clinton's dirty work in the Balkans. From the "monopolistic behavior" of BIG BAD OIL, to the "monopolistic behavior" of the BIG 3 major grain exporters, who is this PR campaign really designed for? American producers had better keep their eye on the ball.. WHO to choose to support in THAT battle could get interesting. If you people in the Midwest want to drain Lake Mich to make fuel, more power to you, however we folks poised on top of the Ogallala Aquifer don't approve of draining our limited, precious resource to make fuel to export to various marginal, possibly unreliable foreign markets. The water quotient of brewing ethanol doesn't work for the general public. The mainstream American populace wants the RFS, and the Blenders Tax Credit rescinded, and you won't likely be able to transfer that distaste over to Goliath Oil. Could this expensive campaign be a way to support another of this Leftist regime's pet projects, especially since Wes Clark is probably STILLLLLL running for POTUS. I sometimes wonder if he will be the next Ron Paul? The FTC "review" is little more than a PR stunt. Grassley is NOT pro-farmer, he is pro-BIG GRAIN. Let's "investigate alleged anti-competitive practices" by oil companies AND multinational grain exporters (who are also to be Ethanol exporters), who have wrangled themselves into a position to OWN & CONTROL the entire protein side of the American FOOD CHAIN, shall we?

  4. D says:

    Our local gas station, Shell, selling E85, ALWAYS has it priced exactly 20 cents under the price of unleaded regular, not the 20% under it could be. It does not matter what the price of unleaded regular gasoline is; for example gas @ $3.89, then E85 @ $ 3.69 or gas @ $3.47 then E85 @ $3.27/gal. The point being E85 is offered but at a price it will not be bought (E85 needs to be priced at about 20% less than regular gas to get the same energy/mileage as regular gasoline). Going to prices for Illinois, shows some stations in the Chicago area selling E85 at 26 to 33% discount to gasoline making it the obvious choice for fuel in flex fuel vehicles. We have a 3/4T flex fuel farm truck and would love to burn E85 but can not justify the increased cost. We live about 75 miles SW of Chicago in an area that is farm fields but do not have access to fairly priced E85. This is an area where most people are very friendly to agriculture and would burn E85 in any flex fuel vehicles but do not because of the increased cost they would incur. Not only do we need to stand up to big oil on what they say about ethanol but we also need to have it fairly priced in all stations.

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