Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Now that an ethanol blend of 15% is available to consumers, the industry needs to ramp up to make it a worthwhile number. Fifteen percent is voluntary, not mandatory. More importantly, very few gas stations nationwide are equipped to handle a 15% blend.

Consequently, the industry is working hard for incentives to ramp up gas stations to supply the higher blend. Then the industry needs an aggressive campaign to convince the public that the higher blend is “good” for them. And then even more importantly, once the public accepts a higher blended ethanol or even the 85% blend, it has to be economical since it is “voluntary” and not mandatory.

These are all great trends, but it will take time to work through these many changes. The potential is enormous and it will change the corn and ethanol industry forever – if and when the industry can build the sales of ethanol, build more or expand current plants and increase DDG availability. Add to that new products that are being developed as a result of processing corn into ethanol, and five years from now the industry may not look anything like it looks today. 

 

February 2011