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Unspecified "Political" Influences Cancel Previously Approved Discounted Gasoline Offer for Memorial Day

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Brazilian Sugarcane Ethanol Industry Still Plans to Help DC Drivers Reduce Summer Fuel Costs


Washington, DC – One week after approving the event and less than 24 hours after allowing promotional banners to be hung on its property, Capitol Petroleum Group cancelled plans by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) to offer Washington-area residents a discount of 54-cents per gallon on gasoline purchased at two Exxon stations on Capitol Hill. A company representative, citing unspecified “political” reasons, abruptly ended UNICA’s plans to help DC drivers keep a little extra money in their pockets for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

“Open market competition and free speech are two fundamental principles that have made the United States a global leader,” observed Joel Velasco, UNICA’s chief representative in North America. “It’s a shame that those values don’t seem to apply in this situation.”

The one-day event would have highlighted the current 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, which makes gas more expensive for Americans. The event would have also educated drivers about the benefits of sugarcane ethanol – a clean and affordable renewable fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60 percent compared to gasoline and could help the United States cut its dependence on oil from the Middle East.

“While we are unclear who caused this sudden shift in plans, one thing is certain: consumers win when businesses have to compete in an open market, because competition produces higher quality products at lower costs,” Velasco said.  “UNICA will continue advocating for open market competition by encouraging Congress to end the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol.”

“UNICA is still committed to making summer vacation a little less expensive and is working on details to make this discount a reality for Washingtonians,” concluded Velasco.  The group is now planning to give away a substantial number of gasoline cards instead on a first-come, first-served basis.  Details for this giveaway will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

For a timeline of activites, from UNICA's initial outreach to the gas stations to Capitol Petroleum Group's (CPG) decision to cancel the gas discount events, click here.

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Ana Carolina Lessa
Public Affairs, North America
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