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Demand for ethanol in the nation is supported by a 45-cent tax credit provided to refiners for every gallon of the fuel blended into gasoline and by a 54-cent tariff on Brazilian-made forms of the additive. They both expire on Dec. 31.
An energy bill passed in 2007 calls for the nation to use 12 billion gallons of renewable fuels such as ethanol this year and 15 billion gallons of corn-based forms of the fuel by 2015.
In terms of maintaining legislative support for ethanol, "probably the biggest battle is going to be over the tariff coming into this country when that runs out at the end of the year," Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, said today on a conference call with reporters.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Cosan SA Industria & Comercio yesterday said they plan to combine ethanol, sugar and distribution assets in Brazil. Cosan, the world's largest sugar- cane processor, aims to use Shell facilities in the U.S. and Europe to boost exports. Brazil, which makes the fuel from sugar cane, is the world's largest ethanol exporter.
U.S. ethanol's fight to keep support comes as the biodiesel industry waits for its tax credit to be reinstated. The credit, which expired at the end of 2009, provided refiners with $1 a gallon for biodiesel blended with conventional diesel. Domestic production has ground to a near halt, according to the National Biodiesel Board, the industry's trade group.
"We certainly think the biodiesel experience is something you can learn from," said Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington, ethanol's primary trade group. He said extending the tariff is "probably our number one legislative agenda."
Poet LLC, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Archer Daniels Midland Co., in Decatur, Illinois and San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp., are the largest U.S. ethanol producers. Iowa is the largest maker of the fuel in the country.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mario Parker in Chicago at 5927 or email@example.com.
Last Updated: February 2, 2010 15:36 EST