US exported a record 1.37 billion gallons of ethanol in 2017

By Renewable Fuels Association | February 06, 2018

Government data released Feb. 6 confirms that U.S. ethanol exports set a new record in 2017, with an astonishing 1.37 billion gallons 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 (mg). In conjunction with today’s data release, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) released a detailed summary of 2017 U.S. ethanol export and import statistics.

Brazil was the leading destination for U.S. ethanol exports, receiving 446 mg, or 33 percent of total shipments. Canada imported 328 mg from the United States, while India took in 173 mg. 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 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% in the wake of new tariffs being implemented.

The value of U.S. ethanol exports was $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.

U.S. ethanol imports remained scarce in 2017, with just 77 mg 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 requirements.

Reflecting on the record year, RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen stated, “Even when facing massive trade policy headwinds in 2017, the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. producers, and educate the world’s consumers on the benefits of low-carbon renewable fuels.”