Few are likely to be surprised that the “Big Five” oil companies -- Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips -- have gamed the U.S. fuel distribution system in an effort to prevent biofuels from reaching consumers.

But how do they do it?

The strong-arming methods used to achieve such aims are outlined in a new study done by the Renewable Fuels Association titled “How Big Oil Covertly Blocks the Sale of Renewable Fuels.”

“With this report we wanted to shine a little light on the narrative coming from the big oil companies these days,” said Bob Dineen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association during a July 8 press call. The oil companies say “‘The U.S. market can’t possibly absorb more than 10 percent ethanol. The consumers don’t want it and won’t buy higher level ethanol blends.’ And my personal favorite: because major oil companies have disinvested from their downstream blending operations, they don’t have any control over the infrastructure or what’s sold.”

Dineen dismissed such claims as “rubbish. It’s a shame the EPA has bought into much of that in trying to determine the 2014 RFS (Renewable Fuels Standard) and beyond.

“The oil companies – particularly the big five – simply don’t want to provide market access (to ethanol). They’re using every tool in the monopoly toolbox to deny consumers the lower cost option.”