The U.S. ethanol industry is hurting due to the COVID-19 outbreak keeping most drivers off the road.
Reuters says the industry has cut production more than it has in recent memory as fuel demand continues to plummet.
The output of the corn-based biofuel fell off a cliff, dropping a record 20 percent to an average daily rate of 672,000 barrels.
That’s the lowest production rate since the Energy Information Administration began publishing the weekly data in mid-2010.
As expected, stockpiles jumped to a record 27 million barrels, underscoring the struggling demand.
Federal regulations mandate that nearly every gallon of gas sold in the U.S. has about 10 percent ethanol.
However, the worldwide virus outbreak drove oil prices lower amid a dispute between Russia and Saudi Arabia regarding production levels.
Those factors have combined to make it impossible for ethanol makers to profitably produce their fuel.
Dozens of plants have idled production or slowed way down, including POET, one of the industry’s top producers.
Last week, POET said it idled production at three facilities in Iowa and South Dakota.