Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper says the U.S. ethanol industry is still a long way from normal operations. “We are beginning to climb out of the hole that COVID-19 put us in, but we’re still about 35 percent below where we were one year ago in terms of production. We have a long way to go. There is still a lot of ethanol plants idled and workers that are furloughed. We’re keeping a close eye on gasoline demand.” According to Cooper, there are more than 60 U.S. ethanol plants completely idled and another 50 to 60 plants operating at below normal rates. The ethanol industry is seeking relief in the next round of COVID-19 assistance. The HEROES Act offers a provision to provide direct assistance to biofuel producers, but the Senate will also be putting together a different relief package. “We’re very confident the Senate will also include assistance for biofuel producers,” says Cooper. “Senators Klobuchar and Grassley have already introduced standalone legislation that could easily be pulled into a fourth economic stimulus package.”
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