Many site specific factors have been identified to influence ethanol plant location and production. These include availability of corn, water, cattle and access to a major highway. The objective of this paper is to determine whether these factors actually have influence on plant size. The rapid expansion of the industry could make these factors crucial in its survival. The study involved 122 ethanol plants in similar number of US counties. Data was obtained as follows: County level shape files from Arc View software; ethanol plant capacity data from Renewable Fuels Association; corn production from United States Department of Agriculture. Exploratory spatial analyses using Choropleth map, Moran�s scatter plot and Moran�s I did not show spatial dependence among nearby ethanol plants. However, a spatial error model was found to be superior to its a-spatial version. The site specific factors, except corn, were not statistically significant in ethanol production level. The implication of these results is beginning to be seen in the current transportation bottleneck facing the industry.

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Frank Tenkorang
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