From the San Francisco Chronicle:

If a $5 billion-a-year federal subsidy that helped build the ethanol industry comes to an end, it will likely mean two things, experts who have followed its development say.

First, it doesn't guarantee an end to the high prices that corn farmers have enjoyed and livestock producers and other food manufacturers have endured.

That's because of the second point: the ethanol industry likely would be fine without the subsidy and keep using just about as much corn as it has the past few years.

As the experts point out, the 45-cent-a-gallon tax credit set to expire at the end of the year doesn't even go directly to ethanol producers, but instead has been an incentive for oil companies like BP, Valero Energy Corp., and ExxonMobil Corp. — known in the ethanol industry as blenders — to buy ethanol and blend it with gasoline.

For more, see: Farmers, ethanol makers likely OK with no subsidy