A glut of ethanol has sent prices plumetting, staggering the hopes of farmers and businesses who once counted on a biofuel gold rush, reports the New York Times. Companies and farm cooperatives built so many ethanol distilleries that production has far outpaced demand, in part because distribution hasn't kept up.
The average ethanol market price has plunged 30 percent in the last four months. “The end of the ethanol boom may already be here,” warned one economist. While government subsidies will likely keep production moving, the emerging troubles raise serious doubts that the biofuel can provide a reliable alternative to conventional energy sources.