The Trump administration is set to announce a deal to mitigate concerns over the use of small refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard that will reallocate waived gallons to other obligated parties.
As much as growers long for an end to the trade war with China, there are long-term threats to demand for corn, soybeans and other crops that could depress commodity prices for years to come and lead to calls for higher government spending, economists say.
Trade tensions, the Trump administration's decisions on biofuel policy, and an oversupply of ethanol are placing ethanol plants in a tight spot financially, forcing some to either shut down or press pause on production until conditions improve, industry officials say.
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed Friday only a minimal increase in U.S. biofuel usage, reflecting modest growth in production of next-generation cellulosic ethanol, and the decision was immediately slammed by biodiesel producers.
Ethanol producers are hopeful for an increase in year-round E15 gasoline sales after the Trump administration okayed its summertime sale, but consumer demand will likely be modest due to fears of litigation, a lack of blender pumps, and challenges posed by some state regulations.