A spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute says the industry opposes statehouse efforts to enact legislation that would direct greater use of ethanol fuel within Iowa’s borders. Ed Murphy works for the American Petroleum Institute, the trade association for petroleum companies Exxon and Conoco.

Murphy says the American Petroleum Institute favors nationwide standards which already require growing use of ethanol. “We don’t think that state mandates, if you will, are in the consumers’ best interests,” Murphy says. “It makes for what we call a ’boutique fuel’ problem.”

Murphy says if states like Iowa start passing their own requirements on ethanol, then refineries will have to start producing a blend of gasoline for Iowa stations that has ethanol content that may be dramatically different from that sold in other states. Murphy contends that will raise pump prices dramatically in Iowa.

Murphy, however, disputes the idea that “big oil” is fighting the ethanol industry. Murphy says about five years ago the American Petroleum Industry agreed to a national ethanol mandate that’s part of federal law. “So we have been supportive of ethanol for quite some time,” Murphy says.

Some Iowa lawmakers, however, complain “big oil” companies write their contracts with local gas stations so those stations cannot sell blends of ethanol, like E-85, that’re higher than the 10 percent blend that is commonly available. Democrats in the Iowa House are hoping to pass a bill that would those kinds of anti-ethanol contracts.