Among recent ethanol-factory shutdowns was Abengoa in Madison, WI, which was closed for maintenance. Usually, it makes 88 million gallons of ethanol per year. The issue of ethanol production has grown in importance as President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney debate over the concept of alternative fuels and US energy independence. Biodiesel production in September was also down for the fourth straight month.
Meanwhile, the EPA's 2010 decision to raise the nationally available ethanol blend to 15 percent from 10 percent withstood its most recent challenge from various trade groups when a lawsuit against the regulator was thrown out in August.