House and Senate Reach Agreement Over Ethanol in Energy Bill

Clearing one of the last major hurdles on the way to a final energy bill, negotiators from the House and Senate agreed yesterday on most parts of a plan to almost double the use of ethanol by 2012 and provide a new tax credit for diesel fuels that are blended with soybeans or other farm products. Under the plan, the U.S. gasoline industry must mix at least 5 billion gallons of ethanol into other fuels by 2012, compared to 2.7 billion gallons today. That’s good news for farmers in the Midwest — and indeed, it was senators from Midwestern states who pushed hard for the plan. The remaining roadblocks in the energy bill include conflicts over tax breaks for buyers of clean vehicles and credits for utilities that install clean technologies.