RFA releases numbers on 2014 ethanol exports

By Holly Jessen | February 09, 2015

U.S. ethanol exports hit 836 million gallons in 2014, 6 percent of the total 14.3 billion gallons produced nationwide.

“We are working diligently to increase demand for this product abroad,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, in a press release, adding that U.S. ethanol has now been exported to all six inhabited continents. “It has been rewarding to see countries all over the world embrace the U.S. produced, high-octane fuel, which has also been the lowest-cost liquid transportation fuel found anywhere in the world.”

The export number for 2014 is second only to the 1.193 billion gallons exported in 2011. “U.S. ethanol is now exported to 51 countries across the globe, including regions that once seemed far-fetched as renewable fuel destinations such as the Middle East and North Africa,” he said.

The RFA announced Feb. 5 that it was releasing its publication, 2014 U.S. Ethanol Exports and Imports: Statistical Summary. The publication will be distributed at the National Ethanol conference, which will be held Feb. 18-20, in Grapevine, Texas. The conference’s theme is “Going Global,” and includes keynote speaker Ron Kirk, former U.S Trade Representative, and a panel of global ethanol market experts.

Looking at the eight page exports/imports publication, several countries saw significant increases in U.S. ethanol imports. That includes Brazil, which brought in 112.2 million gallons, up 147 percent from 2013. In addition, South Korea brought in 36 million gallons, a 666 percent increase, and Tunisia brought in 21 million gallons, up 438 percent. In 2014, Singapore, South Korea, Tunisia, the Philippines, United Arab Emirates and India together brought in a combined total of 243 million gallons of U.S. ethanol, a sevenfold increase from the combined 38 million gallons the six countries imported in 2012.

In addition, on Feb. 6 the association released its analysis of ethanol exports, which is published on its website monthly. The most recent numbers cover the month of December and the full year.

Although U.S. ethanol exports were down 17 percent in December, hitting 75.5 million gallons compared to November’s 90.9 million gallons, exports for the full year were 35 percent above exports in 2013, the analysis shows. At the same time, imports to the U.S. increased 11.5 million gallons in December, more than double the gallons imported in November. “Still, ethanol imports for the entire calendar year totaled just 84 million gallons, down 79 percent from 2013 and the second-lowest annual total in the past decade,” wrote Geoff Cooper, RFA’s senior vice president.

The analysis revealed that U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS) added up to 11.3 million metric tons for the year, setting a new record. In 2013, 9.7 million metric tons were exported, the previous record. Despite, an interruption in exports to China due to the country’s policy on a biotech corn trait, a position which the country later changed, China was the top destination for DDGS in 2014, taking in 39 percent of total exports.