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Biofuel stocks rise after EPA boosts mandate

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of biofuels and ethanol companies surged Friday after the government proposed increasing required use of renewable fuels.

The Environmental Protection Agency standards would require production of 14 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels made from grasses and woody material. The EPA wanted 8.7 million gallons in 2012, but actual production was near zero. Currently most ethanol is made from corn.

The oil industry objected quickly to the EPA move, saying that the Obama administration was ignoring an appeals court ruling just last week that overturned the 2012 requirement for cellulosic biofuels. The use of renewables is intended to reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced when vehicles use gasoline and other oil-based fuels.

Separately, renewable-fuel producer Amyris Inc. said Friday that its plant in Brazil made its first commercial shipment of farnesene, which is used in specialty chemicals and fuels. The plant makes the product with sugarcane and expects it to be used in diesel-powered buses in Brazil.

Investors bid up biofuels stocks, some of which are tiny companies.

In afternoon trading shares of Amyris Inc. rose 23 cents, or 7.5 percent, to $3.27. Renewable Energy Group Inc. picked up 27 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $7.05. Gevo Inc. surged 25 cents, or 10.9 percent, to $2.55. BioFuel Energy Corp. gained 41 cents, or 8.8 percent, to $5.11 and Pacific Ethanol Inc. rose 4 cents, or 9.7 percent, to 40 cents.