Iowa ethanol output held steady at 3.7 billion gallons in 2012

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association  • Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013

JOHNSTON, IOWA – The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association announced that Iowa’s 41 ethanol plants produced 3.7 billion gallons during 2012, matching 2011 production. Iowa is estimated to account for roughly 28 percent of national ethanol production in 2012. This is the first time since 2002 where production did not increase year to year.

“2012 will be remembered for the great drought,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Due to Iowa’s incredible farmers, the state weathered the drought better than most. Iowa was fortunate not to have an ethanol plant shut down in 2012. Most plants pulled back on production due to the drought, but we had another plant operating for a full year that offset those reductions. In the end we held steady, but everyone is praying for rain and a trend-line corn yield in 2013 to really jumpstart the industry.”

Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.7 billion gallons annually, with one wet mill and two cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce 315 million gallons annually.

The association also pointed out that Iowa motorists could have saved $69 million in 2012 if E15 had been widely available to Iowans who drive 2001 and newer vehicles. The figure was based on gasoline sales data released Dec. 27 by the Iowa Department of Revenue.

“$69 million buys a lot of Christmas presents,” Shaw said. “With E15, Iowans can spend less while boosting the Iowa economy. That’s a pretty good deal. IRFA is working with retailers across the state to make E15 access a reality. Until E15 is widely available, Iowans will continue paying more at the pump than they should.”

The potential savings with E15, a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol, were calculated using 1,630 million gallons of Iowa gasoline use (extrapolated from Iowa Department of Revenue figures). Roughly 85 percent of the fuel sold goes into vehicles that can legally use E15, including all 2001 and newer passenger vehicles. Where E15 has been sold, it has averaged 5 cents per gallon lower than E10.