In addition, in the marketing and distribution segment had a lower than expected quarter, but we still remained and expect to be on track to equal or exceed last year with an excellent Q2 coming up, possibly a record quarter for that segment. We are very much on track to deliver $50 million of non-ethanol operating income in 2012. As we mentioned in our earnings release yesterday, we redeployed a portion of our rail car assets in the first quarter for other uses and we are increasing that redeployment to about 11% of our tank car of 180 rail cars or 180 rail cars.
We currently run a fleet of over 2,200 rail cars between Tanks and Hoppers. Recently I’ve seen lease rates and tank cars increased due to increased demand for domestic oil production. While we certainly could have just leased cars to other counter parties, we saw the opportunity to use our strong financial position, expertise in trading and risk management and our advantaged position of rail assets to launch a new initiative to capture more value for our shareholders by injecting ourselves as a counterparty and the movement of the commodities.
As we slowdown plans, we are able to repurpose some of our fleet for this initiative and should start to see greater financial contribution over the next several quarters in our marketing and distribution segment.
In addition, because of our ownership in nine blending terminals, we are positioned well to refocus more cars for this initiative. We will continue deploy these rail cars in this manner as long as the opportunity is available.Returning to ethanol margins, we believe the weakness experienced in the first four months of 2012 is attributable to a couple of things. Significant blending of ethanol in the fourth quarter of 2011 as blenders and refiners took advantage of the expiring tax credit and number two lower overall gasoline demand. The combination of these two items and the ethanol industry producing at record rates, during the peak margin environment in the fourth quarter of last year and continuing that reduction into this year has created an overhang depressing the market for ethanol. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com
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