You mad, Big Ethanol?

The corn-ethanol group Growth Energy is taking aim at the oil industry in a new multimillion dollar national TV advertising campaign, the group announced Monday.

The push portrays the oil industry as using its clout to prevent biofuels from entering the marketplace. It’s the latest in a series of escalating attacks between biofuel and oil industry trade groups.

“While Big Oil may be one of the largest and well-funded industries on the planet – they are not entitled to use their influence to control Congress to maintain unbridled control over the transportation fuels marketplace,” Growth Energy said in a statement.

The advertising effort will last several weeks, Growth Energy spokesman Michael Lewan told The Hill. It will broadcast nationally on FOX, CNN, MSNBC and RFD-TV, as well as in some local markets.

Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to allow an industry with specially interested clout to artificially manipulate the conditions of the marketplace, would we? …Kind of like how Big Ethanol is itself a prime example of the ill-begotten rewards of rent-seeking and crony capitalism, no?

Yeah, about that. This is just the latest move from the biofuels lobby in the escalating battle royale over the Renewable Fuel Standard, a functional subsidy that requires increasing amounts of various types of ethanol into the country’s gasoline supply. Talk of repealing the mandate in all of its damaging stupidity has lately been getting just a little too loud in Washington for the biofuels industry’s comfort, so obviously it’s time to take their entirely twisted and phony arguments to the streets.

These crocodile tears are coming the same day that ethanol is making an apt display of it’s own brand of price volatility, by the way — an attribute with which the industry often derides gasoline:

Ethanol futures jumped to the highest price in more than five weeks, slashing their discount to gasoline, on concern a heat wave in the U.S. Midwest will force plants to reduce operations and threaten corn crops.

The spread, or price difference, shrank by 8.37 cents to 48.75 cents at 11:07 a.m. New York time amid forecasts that temperatures in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa may be as much as 15 degrees above normal through the rest of this week. Most ethanol plants in the U.S. are in the corn-rich Midwest.

“The heat wave will probably slow production some,” said Mike Blackford, a consultant at Intl FCStone in Des Moines, Iowa. “This market has a herd mentality. Either they all want to buy or they all want to sell.”