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Flood of U.S. ethanol spilling into foreign markets

31.05.2010 11:17 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Despite ethanols pitch as a domestic replacement for imported oil — and one that may offer fewer environmental risks following the oil well explosion in the Gulf that continues to impact the southern coast — the market for U.S. ethanol is actually growing faster overseas. Ethanol exports have boomed in recent months, with shipments destined for dozens of energy-thirsty nations around the globe, including some in the Middle East. The United States has been a net importer of ethanol for the last decade, but the nation is quickly evolving into a net exporter, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Thats not due to a lack of efforts by the corn industry to enhance domestic use of ethanol. In Colorado, corn growers recently initiated the states first blender pump at the Stratton Equity Co-op Station in Burlington. Blender pumps allow motorists to select ethanol blends of 10, 20, 30 or 85 percent for flex-fuel vehicles. The goal of the project is to open blender pumps at 10 locations statewide by providing a combination of technical, monetary and promotional assistance to fuel retailers. «Theres no better way to promote our industry — the corn industry — than using our own product,» said Rick Palkowitsh, who farms near Burlington. Dan Slinger, general manager of Stratton Equity, said about three million bushels of the co-op members corn goes for ethanol production. The U. S. annually consumes 10 billion gallons of ethanol, reducing crude oil needs by 7 percent, according to Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Stulp. Ethanols impact on the corn market adds price support in the range of $1.50 to $2 a bushel, according to Colorado Corn. There are now more than 100 ethanol pumps across the state. Even so, the Renewable Fuels Association is concerned by how much American ethanol is being exported instead of being utilized at home. «The fact that U.S. ethanol exports are surging as domestic markets become saturated demonstrates that Americas ethanol industry can and will compete globally. The question becomes: Do we want to export our biofuels and the benefits they provide, or do we want to use them here at home to help secure our energy future? Given the opportunity, todays industry can do both,» said RFA Vice President of Research Geoff Cooper. «Unfortunately, current regulations restrict the amount of ethanol that can be used domestically. Therefore, the industry is being forced to look to the export market for additional growth opportunities.»

Agro Perspectiva

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31.05.2010
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