Report shows record ethanol exports in 2017

Export total for 2017 increased 17% from prior year.

February 2, 2018

2 Min Read
ethanol plant in corn fields
Jim Parkin iStock

Recently release government data confirmed that U.S. ethanol exports set a new record in 2017, with an astonishing 1.37 billion gal. shipped to more than 60 countries around the world. The 2017 export total was up 17% from 2016 and beat the previous record set in 2011 by some 174 million gal.

The Renewable Fuels Assn. (RFA) also released a detailed summary of 2017 U.S. ethanol export and import statistics.

Brazil was the leading destination for U.S. ethanol exports, receiving 446 million gal., or 33% of total shipments. Canada imported 328 million gal. from the U.S., while India took in 173 million gal. The Philippines and South Korea rounded out the top five destinations in 2017. Export volumes to nine of the top 10 destinations saw increases over 2016 volumes, with Brazil, India, the Netherlands, Singapore and United Arab Emirates showing the largest gains. Meanwhile, after serving as the third-leading ethanol export market in 2016, China finished just out of the top 10 in 2017 as U.S. exports to that nation plunged nearly 90% in the wake of new tariffs being implemented.

RFA noted that the value of U.S. ethanol exports was $2.4 billion in 2017, up 16% from the 2016 value and the second highest on record. Undenatured fuel ethanol accounted for 60% of total exports, while denatured fuel ethanol was 36%. Denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel industrial uses made up the remaining 4% of exports.

U.S. ethanol imports remained scarce in 2017, with just 77 million gal. entering the country. Nearly all of that entered through California ports and was used to meet the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard requirements, RFA said.

“Even when facing massive trade policy headwinds in 2017, the U.S. ethanol industry rose to the challenge by delivering record volumes of low-cost, high-octane fuel to the world market,” RFA president and chief executive officer Bob Dinneen stated. “One out of every 11 gal. of ethanol produced in the United States ended up being exported to more than 60 countries, offering a cleaner fuel at a lower price to consumers around the globe.”

Dinneen said the U.S. ethanol industry is proud of this accomplishment and looks forward to continuing to grow the global market for ethanol and other renewable fuels.

“RFA will continue to work with its partners to break down artificial trade barriers, expand export opportunities for U.S. producers and educate the world’s consumers on the benefits of low-carbon renewable fuels.”

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