An ethanol glut?

From Business Week:

BW ethanol

Lobbying for a Better Blend

The ethanol industry is about to hit a wall—the “blend wall.” U.S. biofuel factories now have the capacity to make about 12 billion gallons of ethanol a year, and the U.S. market can’t use much more than that. That’s because annual U.S. gasoline consumption is about 137 billion gallons, and gas isn’t allowed to contain more than 10% ethanol, a blend called E10. If every drop of gas actually met that limit, the ethanol market would be 13.7 billion gallons. But for logistical reasons, a portion of the gas sold will never contain any ethanol.

The looming blend wall is making it harder to get new ethanol plants financed, so corn growers and ethanol producers are lobbying to increase the blend to allow up to 15% ethanol (E15). Opposing them: a coalition of oil producers, food companies, and green groups, which complained to the Environmental Protection Agency that raising the quotient may lead to higher food prices and other woes. In April, the EPA agreed to review the issue.

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