U.S. Senate approves plan to end tax credits for ethanol

June 17, 2011

The U.S. Senate voted 73 to 27 to repeal tax credits for producing ethanol. If the plan is signed into law, it could have an impact on the Illinois' economy.

Currently, oil refineries that mix ethanol with gasoline get a tax credit of 45 cents a gallon. The credits totalled more than $5 billion last year. That's money supporters hope will reduce government borrowing.

But without the credit, Illinois corn growers and fuel blenders could feel the pinch. Phil Flynn is a market analyst with Fox Business Network. He said the ethanol industry is strong enough to stand on its own.

"It seemed to make good sense to help them create a fuel, theoretically become less dependent on foreign oil and produce a home based oil. Of course, back then we were only using a small percentage of the corn crop to do that," Flynn said.

Flynn said now ethanol producers use 40 percent of the corn crop. He says ending the tax credits could have little impact at the pump and the price of corn could drop. Meanwhile, the future of the bill is uncertain. Ethanol supporters say they expect the fight to continue.