Rising corn prices and oversupply push ethanol operating margins to multiyear lows

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Estimated operating margins for corn-based fuel ethanol plants in the Midwest decreased to multiyear lows in 2019, averaging about 3.5 cents per gallon (gal) through the first half of the year. Ethanol margins were at or near zero during June and July because of rising corn prices and high ethanol inventory levels. Lower operating margins mean some ethanol plants may cut or even pause production until conditions improve.

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