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Humans have known for thousands of years that a good or bad crop can mean bounty or death by starvation. One of the many downsides to relying on crops for a feedstock for anything is the volatility that goes with the price. In old days, people hedged against a bad crop by finding ways to preserve food for the lean times. Today when it looks like prices are heading up, big companies lock in prices at what they think will be a low level. Unfortunately, that can come back to bite you when prices go

As expected, VeraSun Energy and US BioEnergy, two large American ethanol producers, have become one. In fact, the just-merged company expects to be the largest producer of ethanol in the United States by the end of this year, producing 1.64 billion gallons of the car-liquor. The newly-formed company is called VeraSun Energy Corporation and holds claim to eleven functioning ethanol plants with five more in construction.

From Domestic Fuel, we hear that VeraSun is currently testing Ford's Hybrid Escape using E85. The two-year test is meant to "demonstrate the benefit of converging flexible fuel and hybrid technologies." For some people, this combination of hybrid efficiency with farmer-friendly corn ethanol is just the thing for an SUV like the Escape. And ethanol-producer VeraSun likes that getting the biofuel into a hybrid is good for business and, in some ways, the environment. VeraSun will also open a new pl

There are certainly no lack of methods to make your travels less environmentally damaging than they used to be. Here's another option, if you're into ethanol: VeraSun Energy and Enterprise Rent-A-Car announced last week that the two companies will work together to use VeraSun's E85 brand (VE85) in Enterprise's flexfuel vehicles, wherever VE85 is available.

Now we're getting somewhere. And by "we" I mean BioTown, USA (Reynolds, Indiana). While last year we had stories about how this small town in Indiana is trying to grow and make all of its own energy but still didn't have any ethanol pumps (so all the flexible-fuel vehicles in the town were cruising on gasoline), now we can report that the town can soon check off making ethanol from their To Do list.

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