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US net ethanol exports reached record high in 2016

Net ethanol exports from the US reached a record 1.01 billion gallons (≈ 4.16 billion litres) in 2016 according to figures published by the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA).

In 2016, the US exported 1.05 billion gallons of ethanol—the second-highest annual total on record. Fuel ethanol imports 2016 were just 34 million gallons, down 64 percent from 2015 and the lowest annual total in six years resulting in record net US ethanol export 2016 (graphic courtesy RFA).

In 2016, the US exported 1.05 billion gallons of ethanol—the second-highest annual total on record. Fuel ethanol imports 2016 were just 34 million gallons, down 64 percent from 2015 and the lowest annual total in six years resulting in record net US ethanol export 2016 (graphic courtesy RFA).

According to a 2016 statistical  summary report published by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), a US trade association that represents US ethanol producers, gross US ethanol exports totalled 1.05 billion gallons (≈ 3.97 billion litres) in 2016, second only to 2011’s record of 1.19 billion gallons (≈ 4.5 billion litres).

Meanwhile, ethanol imports registered at just 34 million gallons (≈ 128.7 million litres), the lowest total since 2010. In 2011 fuel ethanol imports stood at 196 million gallons (≈ 741.94 million litres).

Brazil was the leading destination for US ethanol exports, followed by Canada and China. Together, the three countries accounted for 68 percent of total ethanol exports.

– US-produced ethanol continues to be the lowest-cost, cleanest octane source on the planet. Our industry produced 15.2 billion gallons (≈ 57.54 billion litres) of ethanol last year, and while we continue to meet our domestic needs, ethanol exports are essential for future growth, said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen.

He pointed out that until just a few years ago, the US was a net importer of Brazilian ethanol, but as US producers have become more efficient and world sugar prices have risen, the roles have reversed with Brazil the top recipient US ethanol exports.

– Consumers in dozens of countries around the world are now reaping the benefits of US ethanol: better engine performance, reduced emissions and lower cost. RFA will continue to work with its partners to build on the successes of 2016 and further develop the global market for ethanol, Dinneen added.

Highlights from the report, “2016 U.S. Ethanol Exports and Imports: Statistical Summary” include:

  • US ethanol exports were valued at US$2.02 billion in 2016, up 13 percent from 2015 and the third-highest on record
  • For the first time, undenatured ethanol for fuel use overtook denatured fuel ethanol as the leading ethanol export product, accounting for 51 percent of total exports in 2016
  • Exports to South America and East Asia had explosive growth in 2016, increasing 118 percent and 69 percent, respectively, over 2015 levels
An estimated 6.9 percent of total US ethanol production was exported in 2016, the second-highest share in history and highest in five years. Brazil and Canada were the top two markets and together accounted for 51 percent of the export volume (graphic courtesy RFA).

An estimated 6.9 percent of total US ethanol production was exported in 2016, the second-highest share in history and highest in five years. Brazil and Canada were the top two markets and together accounted for 51 percent of the export volume (graphic courtesy RFA).

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