The ethanol industry was responsible for 83,949 direct jobs and 295,265 indirect and induced jobs and added $52.7 billion to the national GDP, $26.7 billion to household incomes and $10.3 billion in taxes, which help stimulate the national, state and local economies, the study found.

“A record 2014 corn crop continued to push feedstock prices lower throughout the year. Ethanol and co-product prices remained favorable through the third quarter and were reflected in positive industry profitability,” John Urbanchuk, ABF Economics managing partner, wrote in the report.

“The collapse in global oil prices accompanied by record levels of ethanol production in the fourth quarter helped drive ethanol prices lower and strained profitability. Average cash market corn prices for 2014 were about a third lower than during 2013 while ethanol prices were only 10 percent lower for the full year.”

On the demand side, consumption of finished motor gasoline increased 0.6 percent for the first 11 months of 2014 while domestic ethanol consumption increased 2 percent suggesting that further gains are being made in higher blends of ethanol. While still small relative to domestic use, ethanol exports posted a 38.6 percent increase for the first 11 months of 2014.

Plenty Left

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 5.2 billion bushels of corn will be used during the current marketing year for ethanol production of the 15.5 billion bushel supply. A surplus of 1.8 billion bushels of corn is projected for year’s end.

One of the most significant developments in 2014 was the completion of the first three of the nation’s commercial scale second-generation ethanol plants — the POET/DSM Project Liberty facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa; Quad County Corn Processors plant in Galva, Iowa; and Abengoa’s Hugoton, Kan., facility.

Those facilities were christened in the fall of 2014 and began commercial production. A fourth plant, DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa, is nearing completion and is expected to produce in early 2015.

“The ethanol industry benefited from a diversification of feedstocks and co-products. In particular, an increasing share of dry mill ethanol plants is recovering industrial corn distiller’s oil and yields have increased reflecting improvements in technology,” Urbanchuk said.

“This co-product is proving to be an additional revenue stream for ethanol producers and an increasingly important feedstock for the biodiesel industry.”

Blend Wall Shattered

Ethanol consumption reached 10 percent of the motor gasoline supply and the industry hit the so-called “E10 blend wall.” The fact that domestic use of ethanol grew at three times the rate of growth in gasoline consumption suggests that gains are being made in the consumption of higher blends of ethanol.

Reflecting this, the number of refueling stations offering E85 and E15 continued to expand during 2014, with stations offering E85 increasing by an estimated 8.3 percent from 2013 levels.

“Numbers are powerful. These numbers reflect the vast reach of the U.S. ethanol industry across many sectors of our society,” said Bob Dinneen, association president and CEO.

“Each of the nearly 380,000 jobs represents a solid, stable income for a parent who can continue to provide for their family, buy groceries and pay the rent on time. Each of the $10.3 billion spent in local, state and federal taxes mean improved public services, safe, drivable roads, more teachers for local school systems or greater access to the latest technology and information for students. And, each of the 515 million barrels of oil we no longer have to import, mean less dependence on often volatile countries and a more stable energy future for all Americans.”