U.S. Dials Back on Ethanol

… as Ethanol loses its shine

WASHINGTON – Biofuels may have begun their fall from federal favor.The latest sign that ethanol’s sway could be waning came Friday after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Friday proposed scaling back government rules that mandate a certain level of the corn-derived fuel to be blended into gasoline.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s Tennille Tracy and Keith Johnson, the move represents one of the biggest setbacks to date for the biofuel.

Once seen as a panacea that could help wean the U.S. off crude imports from volatile and unpredictable parts of the world, ethanol’s status has diminished in the wake of the North American energy revolution.

Friday’s proposal would require between 12.7 billion and 13.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol in the nation’s fuel mix—lower than what was originally intended for 2014 and the levels of the last two years.

ethanol fuel pumpThe news will be welcomed by the oil industry, which has long railed against the costs—and risks to engines—of adding more ethanol to the refining process.

However, the proposal, which is open to 60 days of public debate, is expected to unleash a firestorm of lobbying from the nation’s corn-farming states.


Fears that Russia and Ukraine were headed for another natural gas standoff have eased after the two nations closed in on a deal to settle Ukraine’s outstanding bill.

According to the Journal’s James Marson and Katya Gorchinskaya, the prime ministers of both countries agreed in a telephone conversation to do everything in their power to ensure uninterrupted supply of adequate volumes of gas needed by customers in Europe.


Oil futures were subdued on Monday morning, trading close to flat on the first day of the new month’s contract, although the difference between the Brent and the WTI benchmarks continued to widen. January Brent on London’s ICE futures exchange was up 10 cents, or 0.09%, at $108.38 a barrel. The December contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down 6 cents, or 0.06%, at $93.30 a barrel. Read the Journal’s latest market report.


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