Even though E15 has been approved by EPA for most vehicles from 2001 and newer – and the federal subsidies and tax incentives for production of ethanol have been extended for 2011 – the controversy regarding ethanol is not likely to go away. During 2011, congress will likely be looking a lot of ways to reduce the huge federal budget deficit, which could affect future incentives for production of biofuels. The “food vs. ethanol” debate is likely to heat up again in 2011, with high corn prices affecting the profitability of livestock production, and potentially leading to food price increases. The current divide among members of congress, as well as among farm organizations and commodity groups, on the future direction of renewable energy policy in the U.S. could also have an impact on the future of the ethanol industry.
Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.