Editorial: The algae advance

US producers of fuel ethanol must be gritting their teeth. First, markets turned against them. Then political support began to weaken. Now pressure increases from both directions as biofuel from another source, algae, shows promise and demands its share of the public weal.The golden age of ethanol turns out to have been 2006-07, when oil refiners needing oxygenate to meet federal gasoline specifications abandoned methyl tertiary butyl ether under threat of product-liability lawsuits. Congress had just enacted a generous mandate for grain ethanol and left in place a hefty tax credit for blenders and a tariff on imports. Responding to inevitably overbuilt production capacity, Congress in 20...

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