But the size of the Federal booster shots may be getting smaller. At a U.S. Chamber of Commerce meeting this week, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman updated conference attendees on cellulosic energy research and then let slip that plans are a-foot to make changes to ethanol tariffs.
During the question and answer period following his speech, Bodman let slip that there may be changes coming for ethanol industry protections and supports.
Secretary Samuel Bodman, Department of Energy.
"There are advantages to both subsidies and tariffs that have helped protect this industry. I believe, as best I can tell, this industry is pretty close to being able to stand on its own but I would rather not go a lot further than that."
Bodman would not elaborate beyond implying all would be revealed when the Federal budget was released next week.
The news there might be a change to the 54-cent per gallon import tax did not sit well with farm state lawmakers like Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa. Grassley believes lifting the tariff would be the same as subsidizing Brazilian ethanol producers and would increase the risk of the U.S. becoming dependent on yet another foreign country for energy.