The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is raising to 15 per cent the amount of corn ethanol that can be blended into gasoline. The EPA decision is being criticized for not going far enough and for going too far. The Renewable Fuels Association is upset that that the Ethanol 15 decision is limited to model year 2007 and newer vehicles. According to the association, this approach is scientifically unjustified and will do little to expand ethanol use. Retailers aren’t likely to want to carry both Ethanol 10 and Ethanol 15. “It is clear EPA is missing an opportunity to meaningfully increase America’s use of renewable fuels and reduce our dependence on imported oil,” says the association. However, the National Pork Producers Council in the U.S. has issued a news release expressing concern that the policy change could put upward pressure on corn prices. According to the council, corn prices have gone up 17 per cent in the last three days closing yesterday at $5.79 a bushel. Corn was under $4 back in August. “We don’t want a repeat of a couple of years ago,” says the council, “when due to high feed grain prices, pork producers lost an average of almost $24 a hog from October 2007 through March 2010.” Of course, what happens with American corn prices has a direct impact on Canadian feed grain values.

I’m Kevin Hursh.

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