A Sacramento company that once was among the nation's fastest-growing ethanol producers says it could run out of cash within a month.
The company said filing for bankruptcy protection is a possibility.
Corn is selling at about $5 a bushel and ethanol at $1.55 a gallon, so "the spread between ethanol and corn is really too narrow to make money," Joel Karlin, a commodities analyst at Western Milling in Goshen in Tulare County, told the Sacramento Bee.
After a period of growth in which it built plants in three states, Pacific Ethanol is in default on $250 million in loans. Rising prices for corn have squeezed the margins for many ethanol companies.
Pacific Ethanol shares closed at 33 cents Tuesday on the Nasdaq index.