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A recent study conducted by the Swiss-based group called Global Subsidies Initiative revealed the total cost of the tax breaks and subsidies that go into U.S. production of ethanol to be in the whopping range of $5.1 to $6.8 billion for 2006. It estimates that U.S. tax payers shell out about $17 per million BTUs. For comparison, a 1989 study calculated oil and natural gas subsidies at less than 40 cents per million BTUs after adjusting for inflation.

Odyssey Day 2006 is quickly approaching and to celebrate 22 ethanol and biodiesel retailers in Iowa will be holding a single-day discount on their alternative fuels on Thursday, October 12 (that's tomorrow, so you don't have to check a calendar).

According to the Des Moines Register, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said in a press briefing that commercial plants able to produce cellulosic ethanol should be in operation within five years.

The USDA has said that American farmers will need to plant ten million more acres of corn if they want to provide enough biomass for domestic ethanol production. Keith Collins, the U.S. Agriculture Department's chief economist, said there will need to be 90 million acres of corn by 2010 if demand for ethanol reaches the expected levels and markets for exports and animal feed are to be maintained. Currently, less than 80 million acres of corn are planted each year. Collins also said corn prices s

We mentioned a somewhat-cattle-related story last week and now here comes another one. Maybe it's the start of a trend.