Stock of Ethanol Maker Soars

From Bloomberg News

Shares of Pacific Ethanol Inc. staged their biggest rally in 20 months after President Bush said he would promote alternative fuels such as ethanol to help reduce the country's dependence on imported oil.

"I'd like, for example, to not only advance that technology of deriving fuel from corn, but also deriving fuel from waste materials," Bush said Sunday in a television interview. "I'm convinced we could do that with a good push, a technological push."

Pacific Ethanol shares advanced $2.41 to $14.64. That's the biggest one-day rally since May 2004. Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates' Cascade Investment said in November that it planned to boost its stake in the Fresno-based company to 27%.

About 4 billion gallons of ethanol were used in the U.S. last year and legislation passed by Congress in 2005 mandated that oil companies blend 7.5 billion gallons of the fuel a year into gasoline by 2012.

Pacific Ethanol will become the largest West Coast ethanol producer with completion this year of the first of five plants the company is developing.

Agricultural products giant Archer Daniels Midland Co., the largest U.S. ethanol producer, in September said it planned to boost annual production capacity to 1.6 billion gallons by 2008.

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