U.S. ethanol exports remain on record pace

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, June 11 – The Renewable Fuels Association reported April ethanol exports of 40.8 million gallons* (includes both denatured and undenatured non-beverage). That volume compares to 48.3 million gallons in March. Year-to-date exports are 124.3 million gallons, which means 2010 exports have already surpassed exports for the entire 2009 calendar year (113.3 million gallons). Denatured ethanol exports were virtually unchanged, but exports of undenatured non-beverage ethanol dropped by roughly 25%.

Exports to the EU, India, Jamaica, Australia, and Canada were up or stable. But exports to Brazil dropped to virtually zero, as Brazilian ethanol output rebounded from previous months.

“American ethanol producers continue to be forced to look for overseas markets for their product as domestic markets for ethanol remain saturated due to the regulatory cap on blending levels,” said RFA Vice President of Research Geoff Cooper. “The transition of the United States to a net ethanol exporter due to its status as the low cost producer today is a reflection of the industry’s commitment to improving efficiencies and displacing petroleum. However, it also underscores the domestic opportunities lost due to the arbitrary cap on ethanol blending. As a matter of national energy security, America should first seek to maximize its use of domestic renewable fuels before it turns to overseas markets.”

The ethanol industry is awaiting a decision by the U.S. EPA on increasing ethanol blending allowances from 10 percent to 15 percent. Additionally, some in the industry have urged EPA to provide some immediate market relief through the approval of 12 percent blends while it finalizes work on E15.

RFA explored the issue of increasing U.S. ethanol exports in a five-page report released in May, available at: www.ethanolrfa.org/page/-/US%20Ethanol%20Export%20Paradox.pdf?nocdn=1

* Source: Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, USDA-FAS; Export figures represent sum of “Ethyl alcohol and other spirits, denatured, of any strength” and “Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume of 80 percent vol. or higher.” Thus, the figures likely include ethyl alcohol exports for non-fuel industrial purposes.

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