Ethanol Production Continues Growth Trend

Fuel Plant

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently unveiled new data showing the continued growth in U.S. fuel ethanol production. According to the EIA, capacity reached more than 16 billion gallons per year and 1.06 million barrels per day (b/d) at the beginning of 2018. This level of output translates to growth of five percent or more than 700 million gallons per year between January 2017 and January 2018.

Part of the increase stems from a number of facilities operating above capacity, which was made possible by plant improvements and process modifications. These changes could range from equipment upgrades to plant expansions and improved maintenance routines. Strong demand played a role as well in the growth.

Most of the U.S. fuel ethanol production capacity is located in the Midwest. This region was responsible for 14.8 billion gallons per year at the beginning of 2018 (967,000 b/d), an increase of five percent, or more than 650 million gallons per year between January 2017 and January 2018. The top three states in output are Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois. In total, they contain more than half of the nation’s total ethanol production capacity.


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