Ethanol from corn has it downs sides. I received an email from a local environmental group, the "Gulf restoration Network" http://www.healthygulf.org/
that linked several story's about corn derived Ethanol.
No doubt there are far fewer small refinery's in operation these days. Really the main reason that the small refinery's closed was they could not make finished gasoline that met the new EPA requirements in the late 90's.. So the high cost of building new facility's that can meet the new EPA specifications killed them off. Only players left are the big boys. Since the suppliers have been reduced so now any hiccup in the major suppliers result in higher prices for everyone..
For ethanol to be even faintly competitive requires continuing high gas prices. And if the volatile world oil market has a big downturn, as it has in the past, the government will be under pressure to keep the price of imported oil high to protect the domestic ethanol industry.
So that's it, is it? The oil industry has managed to drive their profits though the roof and now they're taking measures to keep them there.
Actually, what bobski was talking about has absolutely nothing to do with capitalism. If we were truly capitalist, there would be no ethanol in gas anywhere in the US. The only way ethanol in the motor fuel pool can exist is by the government manipulating things. That said, I can't imagine that the govt would try to keep crude prices high...