Another record month for U.S. ethanol exports

(By Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association, in Ethanol, Exports)

U.S. ethanol exports in July set a new monthly record, according to government data released recently. Exports of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol totaled 127.4 million gallons in July, edging out the April total of 120.1 million gallons to set a new record. July exports were nearly double the amount exported in June.

Top destinations in July were Canada, Brazil, and European Union. Through the first seven months of 2011, the United States has exported 588.5 million gallons of ethanol, or roughly 7.5% of total output during that same period. Year-to-date exports in 2011 are already more than the combined total of 2009 and 2010 exports. The U.S. ethanol industry remains on pace to export 800-900 million gallons of ethanol for the entire 2011 calendar year.

Exports of denatured ethanol in July topped 100 million gallons for the first time ever, coming in at 104.6 million gallons. For context, this is equivalent to the annual output of a typical large ethanol facility. Canada was the top export destination in July, receiving 33.8 million gallons of denatured product. Brazil imported 16.1 million gallons, while the United Kingdom (14.0 mg), United Arab Emirates (13.6 mg), and Netherlands (12.3 mg) rounded out the top five. Together, the top five destinations accounted for 86% of July denatured ethanol exports.

Our Take:
The Ethanol export numbers can serve as an interesting index for two phenomena–first, increasing exports show the recognition worldwide, that American-made, corn ethanol is a bargain. A high quality fuel that works very well to increase octane and lower emissions of pollutants. And it’s competitive with oil products.

But America’s ethanol exports also serve as an index of a stalled US energy policy. In an ideal world, the US would be using every drop of this high quality, cleaner-burning fuel it is producing to displace imported and high carbon-intensity fossil fuel sources like the Canadian tar sands and the Venezuelan heavy crude.

With a truly effective E15 exemption in place, that ethanol would be put to use in our own economy. And it appears E15 will get here one of these days, thanks to the persistent efforts of RFA, ACE, Growth Energy, NCGA and state corn grower organizations like MCGA.

 

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