Ethanol makers idle plants amid high corn prices

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Associated Press

Posted on June 29, 2012 at 6:01 PM

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — High corn prices and less consumer demand for gasoline have ethanol plants across the Midwest cutting back production, and some are temporarily idling facilities.

More than 95 percent of the nation's ethanol plants use corn as their feedstock. Analysts say corn prices have been skyrocketing because of fears triple-digit temperatures and drought in the middle of the country will destroy, or greatly reduce, this year's crop.

Meanwhile, the country has an ethanol glut. People are not driving as much given the poor economy and the high gasoline prices. Ethanol is primarily used in gasoline blends.

Valero Energy operates 10 ethanol plants. It is temporarily idling one in Nebraska and another in Indiana because it costs more to make ethanol at those plants than the company can sell it for.

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