Is all of the political fighting over ethanol subsidies kind of a moot point? Not entirely, but arguing over the role the biofuel will play in America in the future might be. This is the take from USDA chief economist Joe Glauber, who told Reuters point blank:
The fact is the industry has pretty much been built. This isn't a question of just saying 'cut it off.' It's much more complicated than that.
The push factors that help create reasons for ethanol producers to keep producing include government mandates, tax incentives and (surprise!) higher profit margins last year. So, even though Glauber cited ethanol production as a reason that U.S. corn stockpiles are down to the lowest levels since 1996, Reuters writes:
With federal ethanol mandates already in place, however, Glauber said, there was not much that can be done in the short term to force firms to stop making ethanol.
Along the lines of the industry already being built (and continuing to expand), there is this, a story about the newly formed Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC). The group's executive director told Domestic Fuel that, "Advanced ethanol is truly on the cusp of commercialization. It's a fuel that is not 15 years down the road, it's a realistic option and there are plants in the ground already today producing advanced ethanol at demonstration and commercial scale." That's one view. Others say that the government hasn't had much luck investing in advanced biofuel projects and should stop investing in these losers because, taxpayers could "start to see renewable energy itself as a scam."

[Source: Reuters, Domestic Fuel, Renewable Energy World | Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images]

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