Ethanol industry bounces back in time for summer travel season

Source: By NTV • Posted: Monday, May 31, 2021

It’s crazy the difference a year can make.

At this time in 2020 things weren’t looking good for the Ethanol industry as it switched to hand sanitizer production as fuel use plummeted.

Now, just a year later, things are looking up for the industry as they start off the busy season of summer travel.

Spring of 2020 was a rough time for all of us, but for the folks in Nebraska’s ethanol industry, the situation was especially grim.

“Things have changed tremendously. A year ago when we were speaking nobody was going anywhere people were staying home there was very little travel. Gasoline and ethanol usage had plummeted through the floor,” said Jan Tenbensel, Chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

With the demand for fuel disappearing, the industry shifted to producing hand sanitizer to battle the pandemic.

But, the industry wouldn’t be down for long. As the country has started re-opening, the demand for fuel is beginning to rise.

“Hotels are full, interstate has that traffic on it again. Gasoline sales are not quite to where they were in 2019, but they are very similar,” said Tenbensel.

The last year hasn’t been all bad for ethanol though.

In March, researchers published results of a study validating the industry’s claims that high blend ethanol fuels were safe for even non flex-fuel vehicles, paving the way for ethanol to become even more common at the pump.

“Well, the oil industry has had a tremendous public relations work for the last 140 years and it’s taken a lot to overcome some of those fears, very successful with that very good performance, performance was wonderful, no mechanical issues or problems of any sort,” said Tenbensel.

After a tough 2020, the ethanol industry finally starting to recover and just in time for the summer season.