U.S. ethanol production sets record in 2010

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. ethanol industry produced an average of 863,000 barrels of ethanol per day (b/d), amounting to a record-breaking 13.23 billion gallons of production in 2010, according to data released on Feb. 28 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Production in 2009 was 10.75 billion gallons.

Imports for 2010 stood at slightly more than 9.7 million gallons, down from 193 million gallons in 2009.

As the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) previously noted, exports of U.S. ethanol reached all-time highs in 2010. According to government data compiled by RFA, total ethanol exports ended the year at 397 million gallons, marking a nearly four-fold increase over 2009. Of the 2010 total, 270 million gallons (68%) were classified as denatured ethanol, while the remaining 127 million gallons (32%) were undenatured, non-beverage. These exports are not eligible for the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), also called the blender’s credit.

A record volume of distillers grains (DDGs), the livestock feed co-product of ethanol production, was also exported in 2010. Nine million tonnes of this high-value livestock feed were exported in 2010.

"In today’s volatile oil market, ethanol production is helping to reduce costs for consumers at the pump and is the only measure currently moving America away from imported oil," said RFA President Bob Dinneen. "At nearly 10% of the U.S. gasoline market, American ethanol production is supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs while reducing our need to import 445 million barrels of oil to refine into gasoline. That is more oil than we import from Saudi Arabia each year. At a time of increased energy uncertainty and volatility, domestic ethanol production from a growing array of feedstocks is helping create the kind of economic and energy opportunities this country will need to regain control over our future."

The yearly data was compiled via the final monthly ethanol production report for 2010 released by EIA. According to that data, December 2010 was a bigger than expected month for ethanol production. The industry produced nearly 918,000 b/d, down slightly from 924,000 b/d in November 2010. December daily production on an annualized basis would be 14 billion gallons.

Demand for ethanol, according to RFA calculations rose to 918,000 b/d, up from 900,000 b/d in November 2010. RFA calculations for 2010 ethanol demand stand just shy of 860,000 b/d.

December stocks for ethanol fell slightly to 17.94 million barrels, or 19.5 days of supply based on demand.
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