Ethanol exports could soar if EPA keeps cut to mandate

Source: Christopher Doering, Des Moines Register • Posted: Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Ethanol exports could top 1 billion gallons if the government agency in charge of overseeing how much of the renewable fuel is blended into the country’s gasoline supply moves forward with a proposed cut, the head of an ethanol trade group said this week.

In November, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed reducing ethanol produced from corn in 2014 to 13.01 billion gallons from the 14.4 billion gallons initially required by Congress in the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard. That law requires refiners to buy alternative fuels made from corn, soybeans and other products to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy. A final rule is expected during the next few months.

Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, told Platts Energy Week that if the EPA acts on the proposed cuts, the ethanol industry will look to the export market to sell some of its largely corn-based fuel. Last year, the U.S. exported 622 million gallons of ethanol, about half of it to Canada.

“Unfortunately, we’re probably going to have to export more than 1 billion gallons of it, because the demand by the RFS is being artificially constrained by the EPA,” Dinneen said.

Iowa leads the nation in renewable fuels production. It has 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing more than 3.8 billion gallons annually and 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.