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US Farmers Are Concerned About Ethanol



VOA Learning English
From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

Farmers in the United States are concerned about a possible decrease in the use of ethanol. Ethanol is a liquid fuel made from plants, such as corn. Last November, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed lowering the required amount of ethanol in the nation's gasoline supply. The requirement began in 2007 as part of a law meant to make the US energy independent.

The law required fuel manufacturers to mix ethanol into their gasoline to reduce the use of non-renewable fuels. The amount of ethanol in the fuel mixture was to increase over time. That was good news for corn growers like Brian Duncan of Polo, Illinois. He thinks the proposed changes in ethanol requirements will hurt corn sales. Farmers enjoyed some of their best corn harvests in 2013. The price of corn fell from a high of more than seven dollars a bushel. Corn prices rose in 2012. That year, a lack of rain reduced the corn crop. Yet the demand for corn in ethanol production continued.

Craig Turner works for a website called GrainAnalyst.com. He says the United States is using about 9% less gasoline than it used in 2008. Mr. Turner says the reduced use of gasoline means the market does not need any more ethanol. He says less ethanol is needed as more energy-saving automobiles are being manufactured and sold. These vehicles, such as hybrid or electric cars, use less fuel. But farmers like Brian Duncan depended on selling their corn to ethanol producers. He says farmers had been planing on the EPA continuing to require an increase in the use of "green" fuels.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal.

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