U.S. ethanol boom slowing due to market glut
The ethanol boom in the United States, the political darling of presidential candidates, farm-state lawmakers, and others, has recently been showing signs of slowing due to a market glut that’s exacerbated by infrastructure troubles. It seems everyone and their farmer have been constructing ethanol refineries to turn corn into fuel, but the means to get that fuel to gas stations hasn’t been keeping pace with output. Due to ethanol’s corrosive properties and its propensity to soak up water and other impurities, it can’t travel by oil pipeline and instead makes its way to market by boat, train, or truck. Ethanol’s recent popularity has led to a huge backlog of over 36,000 unfulfilled orders for ethanol-carrying rail cars, as well as other problems. U.S. ethanol production is expected to reach 7.8 billion gallons by the end of the year and if the Senate has its way, 36 billion gallons of ethanol a year would have to be mixed into the gasoline supply by 2022.