Six states account for 72 percent of U.S. fuel ethanol production

Source: By The Grand Island Independent • Posted: Monday, August 20, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last week that six states accounted for 72 percent of U.S. fuel ethanol production in 2016.

Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana and South Dakota collectively produced 265 million barrels of fuel ethanol out of the U.S. total of 367 million barrels. All six states are among the top 10 U.S. producers of corn, the primary feedstock for ethanol plants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

U.S. fuel ethanol production more than doubled from 2006 to 2016, according to EIA. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 created the Renewable Fuel Standard, and by the end of that decade most motor gasoline sold in the United States was blended with 10 percent fuel ethanol by volume. In recent years, growth in export markets has contributed to further increases in domestic fuel ethanol production.

Iowa’s 41 ethanol plants have a capacity of more than 102 million barrels of fuel ethanol per year. The state’s capacity is nearly twice that of the next highest state (Nebraska) and represents about 19 percent of total U.S. ethanol production capacity.

 The state has also received grant money from the USDA’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) and now has 256 public E85 stations, third most in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. E85 is a gasoline-ethanol blend containing 51 percent to 83 percent ethanol.

Nebraska’s 26 ethanol plants have a combined nameplate capacity of more than 50 million barrels per year, the second highest level in the nation. The plants use more than 700 million bushels of corn per year and annually produce more than 6 million tons of distillers grains, which are used to feed cattle.