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Friday, April 13, 2012

Ethanol: Off The Radar, But Bigger Than Ever

A race car using American ethanol is displayed during the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. (AP)

Remember when ethanol was the next big thing in energy?

The hype is gone, but ethanol production is exceeding the hype and expectations — last year the U.S. produced almost 14 billion gallons and used up 40 percent of the nation’s corn supply.

More corn now goes to make ethanol than to feed livestock. And production is on the rise, even though the federal government this year phased out the subsidy it had been giving refiners to add ethanol to their product.

The growth worries environmentalists who say ethanol isn’t much cleaner than gasoline. Livestock farmers are also grimacing as more corn goes to fuel and feed prices rise sharply.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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