"The U.S. ethanol industry is growing up. Moves in Washington to start weaning producers off government support are not expected to stunt a sector that had often been perceived as too fragile to withstand the travails of market forces.
This week's largely symbolic Senate vote to eliminate $6 billion in federal subsidies refocused attention on an industry that consumes nearly 40 percent of America's corn crop. Yet, experts and analysts had but one gesture: to shrug.
Sure, the eventual loss of an import tariff and a 45 cent-a-gallon blenders' tax credit could put more pressure on profits. Ethanol prices could drop about 7 percent and margins could see a 20 percent or greater squeeze, according to a report published in March by the University of Missouri's Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.
But, industry profitability is far more dependent on a volatile mix of market factors, from corn prices to gasoline to the livestock feed additive made as an ethanol byproduct."
"Corn ethanol: Senate votes to end credits, tariffs" (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Senate Vote Marks Start of End for Ethanol Subsidies" (Reuters)
"Ethanol Industry Is Unruffled by Senate Vote Against Tax Breaks" (Green/NYT)