Ethanol

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The United States is an abundant producer of ethanol and is ready and willing to meet foreign market needs. The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is working with partners in the United States and globally to help develop markets and enable trade for this renewable, clean-burning fuel.

In the United States, ethanol is made primarily from corn. With more than 200 ethanol plants scattered across the country’s Corn Belt, the United States is capable of producing 15 billion gallons (56.7 billion liters) of ethanol per year. This is more than U.S. consumers and industry can use, providing ample export supply.

The Council and its partners - Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service - are focused on promoting U.S. ethanol as a clean-burning source of fuel to buyers and end-users around the globe. This work is done through:

  • engagement in targeted markets to assess and build opportunities;
  • bringing buyers teams to visit the United States; 
  • bringing groups of U.S. ethanol industry representatives overseas; and 
  • a series of workshops focusing on the environmental and economic benefits of ethanol use.

The 2014/2015 marketing years saw the second largest quantity of U.S. ethanol shipped overseas, with sales of more than 870 million gallons (3.2 billion liters) of U.S. ethanol to global customers.

Canada received the bulk of U.S. ethanol exports during this timeframe, making up 30 percent of the export market, while Brazil (17 percent) was the second largest importer. The Philippines (10 percent), India (7 percent) and South Korea (7 percent) round out the top five markets.

During 2014/2015, the Council’s ethanol export promotion program contributed directly to those sales when a U.S. exporter confirmed sales of 10 million gallons (37.85 million liters of U.S. ethanol), valued at more than $15 million, to Peru following a trade team’s visit.

In addition, the Council and its partners have been promoting ethanol as a way to improve China’s air and water quality through missions and seminars. Following these activities, China imported 32.5 million gallons (123 million liters) of U.S. ethanol in October 2015, making it the largest buyer that month.

The world wants ethanol, and the U.S. ethanol industry is ready, willing and able to meet the global demand.