Top Ethanol Markets Remain Dependable

Working continuously to expand global markets for ethanol, the U.S. Grains Council has identified key priority and second tier markets to grow demand and, ultimately, help U.S. producers export four billion gallons of ethanol by 2025.
By Mackenzie Boubin | January 18, 2023

Ethanol exports for marketing year (MY) 2021/22 totaled 1.45 billion gallons, marking the third largest MY on record, and 230 million gallons above 2020/21’s numbers. This 1.45 billion gallons is valued at $4 billion, and its production required the use of the equivalent of 515 million bushels of corn.

Ethanol remained a robust and diversified market with U.S. ethanol exported to nearly 80 different countries in 2021/22. Total U.S. ethanol exports for 2021/22 were up in eight of the top 10 markets, with Canada, the European Union, Nigeria, Singapore and the United Kingdom all setting records.

Canada was the largest market for U.S. ethanol in 2021/22 with nearly 470 million gallons exported, a 33 percent increase year-on-year and the highest on record. Canada’s recently released Clean Fuel Regulations formalized policy that provides stable demand for biofuels into 2030 and beyond. As a result, the Canadian government anticipates that the country will achieve a 15 percent national ethanol blend rate by 2030 as an avenue to comply with CFR carbon mitigation requirements, up from its current 8 percent national ethanol blend average.

South Korea surpassed India to become the second-largest market for U.S. ethanol in MY 2021/22, totaling 176 million gallons (consuming 62 million bushels), worth $444 million, up 28 percent from MY 2020/21.

The EU was the third largest market for U.S. ethanol in 2021/22, with exports up 60 percent year-on-year, hitting a new record of 140 million gallons exported. U.S. ethanol exports to the UK reached 84 million gallons, an increase of over 600 percent from 2020/21, landing as the sixth largest market for U.S. ethanol exports in 2021/22. Furthermore, as a result of the continued rollout of its national E10 policy and implementation of Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), the UK reached an eight percent national blend average, up from 4.7 percent in 2021.

Utilizing U.S. ethanol as a measure to reduce inflationary pressures, increase human health and contribute to decarbonization efforts is an idea that is resonating throughout the globe as more countries seek to implement higher biofuel standards and utilize ethanol to the fullest potential. These goals are a critical aspect of the U.S. Grains Council’s mission of developing overseas markets for U.S. product, to the benefit of domestic producers and foreign end-users alike.

The USGC’s ethanol staff, along with its ethanol advisory team, have identified key priority and second tier markets to grow demand as a part of the Council’s target of helping U.S. producers export four billion gallons of ethanol by 2025. With growing markets such as Japan, Indonesia, India and Canada, U.S. ethanol is well positioned to deliver an affordable, sustainable, reliable and consistent product to countries looking to immediately reduce transportation emissions and consumer costs.

With many emerging opportunities across the world, the Council’s ethanol team strives to develop access and support educational and informational campaigns to the various stakeholders within the global fuel supply chain.

Building upon the momentum for MY 2021/22, the Council will continue to assist countries in creating their own clean fuel standard or discretionary blend levels that would incentivize ethanol consumption, and display how U.S. ethanol can easily be implemented within existing world infrastructure as a right here-right now solution to carbon mitigation strategies.

Author: Mackenzie Boubin
Director of Global Ethanol
Export Development
U.S. Grains Council
[email protected]