(Reuters) - The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to eliminate billions of dollars in support for the U.S. ethanol industry, delivering a powerful message that the era of government support is ending.
The following are facts about world ethanol production.
* The most important biofuel is ethanol, a substitute for gasoline, which is mainly produced from grains and sugar crops.
* The two largest producers of ethanol are the United States and Brazil although there is also growing production in the European Union.
* The United States makes ethanol from corn, a crop for which it is by far the world’s largest producer.
* Ethanol makers will use 5 billion bushels, about 40 percent of the 2010 U.S. corn harvest, to produce the fuel, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated earlier this month.
* Corn prices hit a record high this month of nearly $8 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, up from about $3.50 a year ago.
* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s in January increased the maximum ethanol blend rate in gasoline to 15 percent from 10 percent in vehicles built from 2001 to 2006.
* Brazil, a major exporter of ethanol, uses sugar cane. More than half of Brazil’s sugar cane crop is now used to produce ethanol.
Compiled by Lisa Shumaker