By Peter O'Dowd
Laramie, Wy – A shifting economy has brought trouble to the ethanol industry. Wyoming Ethanol Vice President Terry Oldfield says business has been plagued by credit woes and falling prices that have dropped along with gasoline. While that is good for consumers, it is bad for producers. This summer ethanol sold for more than three-dollars a gallon. Oldfield says a gallon of ethanol now sells for half the amount.
"If you're getting premiums for your product, you'll be very successful and you'll seem like a hero at that time. When prices fall down you have to watch, tighten the belt, and conduct the business a little bit tighter. "
The decline in prices caused one of the country's largest producers to file for bankruptcy last week. Others have halted plans for new development. Oldfield says Wyoming's lone producer of the renewable fuel was also forced into bankruptcy when costs for a new plant in Idaho grew too high. He says the company, which produces 8 million gallons of ethanol a year in Torrington, hopes to emerge from bankruptcy in January.