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New RFA report confirms record US ethanol exports 2017

Recently released US government data confirms that ethanol exports set a new record in 2017, with 1.37 billion (US) gallons (≈ 5.19 billion litres) shipped to more than 60 countries around the world. The 2017 export total was up 17 percent from 2016 and beat the previous record set in 2011 by some 174 million gallons (≈ 658.66 million litres). In conjunction with the data release, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) released a detailed summary of 2017 US ethanol export and import statistics.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the US exported 1.37 billion (US) gallons (≈ 5.19 billion litres) of ethanol in 2017—up 17 percent from 2016 and the highest annual total on record (graphic courtesy RFA).

According to the RFA summary report, Brazil was the leading destination for US ethanol exports, receiving 446 million gallons (≈ 1.69 billion litres), or almost 33 percent of total shipments. Canada imported 328 million gallons (≈ 1.24 billion litres) from the United States, while India took in 173 million gallons (≈ 654.88 million litres). The Philippines and South Korea rounded out the top five destinations in 2017.

Export volumes to nine of the top 10 destinations saw increases over 2016 volumes, with Brazil, India, the Netherlands, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) showing the largest gains. Meanwhile, after serving as the third-leading ethanol export market in 2016, China finished just out of the top 10 in 2017, as exports to that nation plunged nearly 90 percent in the wake of new tariffs being implemented.

The value of US ethanol exports was US$2.4 billion in 2017, up 16 percent from 2016’s value and the second-highest on record. Undenatured fuel ethanol accounted for 60 percent of total exports, while denatured fuel ethanol was 36 percent. Denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel industrial uses made up the remaining 4 percent of exports.

Ethanol imports to the US remained scarce in 2017, with just 77 million gallons (≈ 291.48 million litres) entering the country. Nearly all of the imported product entered through California ports and was used to meet the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) requirements.

Even when facing massive trade policy headwinds in 2017, the US ethanol industry rose to the challenge by delivering record volumes of low-cost, high-octane fuel to the world market. One out of every 11 gallons of ethanol produced in the United States ended up being exported to more than 60 countries, offering a cleaner fuel at a lower price to consumers around the globe. The US ethanol industry is proud of this accomplishment and looks forward to continuing to grow the global market for ethanol and other renewable fuels. RFA will continue to work with its partners to break down artificial trade barriers, expand export opportunities for US producers, and educate the world’s consumers on the benefits of low-carbon renewable fuels, said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen.

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