|Source: Chicago Board of Exchange|
Incremental profits can make a difference in the economics of ethanol plants that are squeezed between the costs of natural gas required to fuel to the distillation process and corn feedstock on the one side and ethanol selling prices on the other. Recently ethanol producers have benefitted from low natural gas prices. However, corn selling prices have spiked in the last couple of weeks on the apparent loss in corn crop due to the 2012 drought. Any hope of lower corn feedstock prices this fall have been pulverized to dust right along with the huge corn plantings farmers had pledged at the 2012 season start.