The U.S. ethanol industry is showing some signs of recovery as government officials ease stay-at-home orders that depressed fuel demand.
Speaking during a visit to Iowa, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says one important component for increasing ethanol demand in this country is to expand consumer access to the blended fuel.
Fuel demand collapsed by about a third with the spread of the novel coronavirus this spring, and U.S. ethanol production capacity halved as around 150 facilities either idled or reduced rates. Now as restrictions ease and gasoline demand inches higher, about 140 facilities are idled or running at reduced rates, Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper said.
U.S. production of ethanol - a corn-based fuel that refiners must blend into their gasoline - has increased since the start of May, rising to 617,000 barrels per day in the week to May 8.