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Utica Energy/ Renew sued for $12 million by Oil Companies..

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Conservativemale brought this to our attention today ..

 

Forty-five gas station owners assail the company for Unfair Sales Act violation.

Ethanol Producer Utica Energy LLC and its associated retailer, Renew E-85 are being sued by 42 Green Bay-area gas stations for $12 million over alleged violations of the state's Unfair Sales Act, according to the Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers.

 

Judge Barbara Key has been presiding over the case, which could have implications for the rest of Wisconsin's ethanol producers, convenience store operators and consumers, Utica and Renew attorney Bruce Bauer told the newspaper.

 

"This represents an effort by at least some gasoline retailers to take aggressive action against at least one ethanol seller utilizing a state minimum mark-up law," Bauer said. "I think a great many consumers in this state would be astonished to know there is such a law on the books."

 

According to court records, the gas station owners claim a Renew's station sold fuel below the minimum price allowed under the state's Unfair Sales Act from Aug. 12, 2006 to Jan. 1, 2007. Based on unspecified injuries, each station owner asked the court to order Utica Energy and Renew to pay each station a total of $2,000-per-day per-violation, or $286,000. The station operators are also seeking a permanent injunction to keep Renew from selling vehicle fuel, according to the newspaper.

 

http://www.csdecisions.com/news/article/70549/utica_facing_12_million_lawsuit.aspx

 

 

"Renew stations have drawn the attention of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection officials who have issued the company several warning letters about selling fuel below the price other companies charge. But Gov. Jim Doyle has told those officials not to pursue cases against ethanol producers and blenders like Utica Energy. "

 

http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070828/GPG03/708280476/1247/OSHbusiness

 

 

 

keep in mind outlaw is not going to be able to comment (in any detail of course) for obvious reasons

 

 

 

 

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Well I'll start by offering my Thanks to Utica Energy and Renew E85 for "Putting the Fear" in the Oil Companies.  8)

 

You have the Governor , many Politicians and most consumers who think the minimum markup law is archaic and should be repealed ..even though ethanol is not even in the old law .

 

 

The case should be dismissed based on the antiquity of the minimum markup law ..

 

 

 

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What I will say is that this case is really about who will control how ethanol is going to be priced- Will it be based on the oil company terminal price or the full semi load price coming from an ethanol plant or distribution point. This is true of any % ethanol blend since blender pumps are available to all. Why should the consumer pay extra for the pleasure of paying for the inefficiency of extra trucking and distribution costs at oil terminals- especially when added by those who are resisting change and would rather see ethanol just go away. Why should the ethanol industry be under total control of an other industry?

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I think this points to a business decision on who reaps the benefit of the federal tax credit that go to the people who blends ethanol.  Most stations buys the E10 or E85 pre-blended and the federal tax credit stays with the oil companies as additional profit.  Utica Energy/Renew passes the credit on to the consumer (me) when I fill up since I'm the one blending the E85 at the pump.  That is why Renew can sell the E10 cheaper than everybody else.

 

 

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I avoid politics because of my company's position. However, I'm 100% rooting for Outlaw and think he'll fair well.

 

Go get 'em! I really just can't "officially" call them assholes. That's all ;).

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I'd certainly argue that E85 isnt being sold less the state minimum markup .. when using the OIl Companies own number that driving on E85 means getting 30% less MPG !  ;D 

 

  If they Oil Companies are selling Gasoline at $3.00 a gallon and Ethanol Companies are selling at $2.10 ..then using the Oil Companies own (30% less mpg) then that means that Renew is well within the State min markup using equivalent mpg gallons ..

 

 

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This might be one of those "don't start a fight you can't finish" deals.

Those gasoline retailers may be opening a box that they won't be able to close --- "pandora oil" sounds about right.

 

The public will go ballistic when they find out a company is getting sued for saving them money. All the suit will do is drive more folks to ethanol and raise its public profile (there is no such thing as bad publicity)!

 

I remember back in the 1970's when the public finally got fed up with price gouging and started running CB fuel finder nets and radio stations would broadcast who still had fuel to sell or who has the best price by 2 cents a gallon.

 

Go ahead gas station owners keep stiring the pot, I don't think you will like the stew when it is done. You will get the minimum markup law thrown out by either the court system or the public by referendum if the legislature does not have the balls to tackle it ----- remember gas wars much ?  ???

 

(for the young kids on here -- gas wars are when station owners started aggressively  competing on price, sometimes the stations would cut fuel prices 2-3 times a day to fight to stay the lowest price in town. The result was everyone went broke because to keep in business they had to sell gasoline essentially at cost)

 

 

Larry

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