Farmers fuel Louisiana ethanol push

Louisiana drivers may one day have to start using gasoline made with ethanol. Or not.



This month, the Louisiana Legislature approved and Gov. Blanco signed a bill pushed hard by Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom and other farm interests that will require gasoline in the state to include 2 percent ethanol or biodiesel after the state's ethanol production reaches 50 million gallons a year (there are now no functioning ethanol plants).

But concern that would cause a spike in prices at the pump led to passage of an amendment that said once the production level was met, the price of ethanol couldn't be more than the price of regular gasoline -- though ethanol now sells for almost twice the price of gas.

Afterward, officials with the Louisiana Farm Bureau officials said they feared the price control would effectively kill the mandate--and efforts to find a new outlet for their crops.

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