Ethanol exports are up since this time in 2016, and new data once again confirms that the so-called 10% “blend wall” has been broken. Now it’s time to look ahead to expanding the US biofuels industry, which is just what a trio of governors are doing. Here are this week’s top headlines.

Governors ask Trump to support biofuels industry

The Governors’ Biofuels Coalition sent a letter to President Trump asking him to support several initiatives to expand US biofuel production and to help the States “harvest its economic and environmental benefits.” The governors also wrote to President Trump shortly after he was elected.

The letter is signed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.

The governors called on the President to direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take the following actions:

  • Remove barriers to the use of higher ethanol blends
  • Enforce the Renewable Fuel Standard as approved by Congress
  • Update biofuels’ lifecycle carbon findings that are a decade old and do not accurately reflect biofuels’ environmental benefits
  • Correct the motor vehicle emission model’s (MOVES) mistaken conclusions about ethanol’s contribution to air pollution.

For more on this story, visit Ethanol Producer Magazine.

Data further confirms blend wall broken in 2016

U.S. ethanol production set a new record of 15.33 billion gallons (bg) in 2016, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA data also show that the average gallon of gasoline likely contained slightly more than 10% ethanol in 2016.

Total ethanol production in 2016 was up 3.5% from the previous high of 14.81 billion gallons in 2015. The data also suggest domestic ethanol disappearance of 14.4 billion gallons in 2016, along with exports of 1.05 bg.

U.S. gasoline consumption totaled 143.37 bg, up 1.9% from 2015 and a new all-time record. The data imply an average ethanol blend rate across the U.S. of 10.04%, meaning higher level blends like E15 and E85 saw increased market penetration.

January ethanol exports up 40% from a year ago

The USDA said that U.S. exports of ethanol totaled 121.8 million gallons in January, up 40% from a year ago. Brazil was the top customer again in January, accounting for 48% of all exports and followed by Canada and India. “Tuesday’s report was slightly bullish for corn and ethanol,” said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman.

U.S. exports of distillers grains totaled 937,628 metric tons in January, up 17% from a year ago. Mexico was the top export destination in January, accounting for 19% of total exports, followed by Turkey and China. China’s January purchase of 87,310 metric tons was down 60% from a year ago. “Tuesday’s report showed U.S. exports doing well without China and was slightly bullish for distillers grains,” Hultman said.

Get more details on this story at DTN/The Progressive Farmer.

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Geoff Hayward

Communications Advisor at Novozymes
Geoff writes about Bioenergy for the Communications team at Novozymes. When he isn’t advocating for an industry that’s changing the world for the better, he can be found on a North Carolina bike path or playing slide guitar.