Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wants the Environmental Protection Agency to quickly make a decision on raising the ethanol blend rate in gasoline from the current level of 10 percent.
On Wednesday, Vilsack and other USDA officials said unless the rate is increased soon, production growth ethanol could halt because demand for it won’t be able to expand. The American Farm Bureau Federation supports raising the ethanol blend level to up to 15 percent.
USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber said he expects ethanol production this year to reach about 13 billion gallons, and there is not much room for expansion beyond that. Glauber said the “blend wall,” or the maximum amount of ethanol that can be produced to meet demand, will be about 15 billion gallons per year.