Factbox: Senate looks at plans to cut ethanol subsidies

Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:09pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to eliminate $6 billion in subsidies for the ethanol industry, although the measure must clear high political hurdles before it would take effect.

While farmers and the ethanol industry like biofuels programs, the incentives have been targeted by environmentalists and lawmakers looking to cut spending, as well as the World Bank, which says they are driving up world food prices.

The Obama administration said it wants changes to U.S. ethanol policy but not a complete repeal of incentives.

The U.S. government has mandated that 13.95 billion gallons of renewable fuels be produced this year, and 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel must be blended by 2022.

Here are some details about proposals for ethanol subsidies:


The Senate voted 73-27 to cut the 45 cents given to refiners for every gallon of ethanol blended with gasoline. The amendment also would cut the 54 cents-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol from Brazil and other countries. If enacted, it would save $6 billion annually.

The tax credit is set to expire at the end of the year. The amendment received bipartisan support, but it was attached to an economic development bill that will face a difficult time passing the Senate.

A previous vote on a similar amendment earlier this week failed. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who co-authored the amendments, said that was because Republican Tom Coburn forced a vote too quickly.   Continued...