By on February 9, 2015

2008 Chevrolet Corvette E85 Indy 500 Pace Car Concept

Of the 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol produced in the United States in 2014, a near-record 836 gallons were exported.

Per a report by the Renewable Fuel Association, those exported gallons went to 51 countries around the world, with the top five importers being Canada, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Philippines and India. The amount of U.S.-made ethanol exported in 2014 comes second to the amount in 2011, when 1.2 billion gallons were sent abroad.

While most export markets continue to flourish, producers saw a continued reduction of exports to the European Union in 2013 and 2014, the result of tariffs against U.S. ethanol.

On the other side, ethanol imports into the U.S. market fell 79 percent in 2014 from 400 million gallons to just 84 million. The figure is the second-lowest on record, behind the 18 million gallons imported in 2010. The majority of the imported ethanol was Brazil, which sent 60.8 million gallons to the U.S. last year, down 83 percent from 2013’s shipment of 348.2 million.

The industry group hopes to add more markets for U.S. ethanol in 2015, having gone on trade missions in Panama, China, Peru, Japan and South Korea in 2014 to help encourage importation, and vowing to “keep at it until all countries understand the value of U.S produced ethanol.”

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47 Comments on “US Ethanol Exports Reach Near-Record Levels In 2014...”


  • avatar
    285exp

    Maybe we can hit 1000 gallons next year.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …you know, that’s like sixteen gallons per country, man: those trade missions must consist of a half-dozen cases of the finest kentucky moonshine…

    (missing million, methinks)

    • 0 avatar

      some Blanton’s, some Booker’s, some 1792, some Michter (my brother’s ol’ law school pal owns that one).

      Anyway, the record exports are not surprising (see my article from this weekend:
      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/iowa-peddle-corn-squeezings-pres-primary/)

  • avatar
    thornmark

    And how much does the US lose per gallon, re: subsidies or from higher cost feedstocks?

    Despite falling US demand, Fed law still requires MORE:

    “And still federal law requires that the ethanol mandate must keep rising, from 9 billion gallons of ethanol in 2008 to 14 billion now and 36 billion gallons by 2022. That would exacerbate all these problems.”
    http://www.westernjournalism.com/come-bury-ethanol-renewable-fuel-standards/#s56Lt7kVWhpX4LwU.99

    So, unless the law changes, looks like the US will export it.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      thornmark, it doesn’t matter how much the US loses per gallon because this boondoggle is funded by the US taxpayer in some ill-advised scheme to defraud those taxpayers and keep America’s corn-farmers happy.

      If the US was really, really serious about ethanol, our government policy would not advocate using food stocks for ethanol. Brazil makes theirs from sugar cane leftovers and other grasses. So could we make ethanol from all sorts of materials that lend themselves to fermenting and distilling.

      It’s a scam. And we, the people, are being scammed. There isn’t even a shortage of oil like the greenweenies have been telling us for decades.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        hdc,

        The “food for ethanol” myth has been disproven for so long that I feel a bit nostalgic seeing it crop-up (excuse the pun).

        Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

        • 0 avatar
          maxxcool7421

          /facepalm/ crop up … well done sir

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Yes, America is suffering from an enormous corn shortage, as is evidenced by corn syrup being in practically everything that we eat.

        • 0 avatar
          bnolt

          Citation(s) needed. From what I read, global warming alarmists and skeptics alike still think it’s a loser, both economically & environmentally. Please enlighten us. Studies subsidised by ‘Big Corn’ will be graded on a curve.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          hh, if America wants to use ethanol as a fuel blend, why not use anything and everything other than food stock to make it? Brazil did, and it works out real good for them.

          Ethanol no longer affects me because all of my vehicles are now FFV.

          It’s a scam, designed to funnel money into the pockets of big agri-business and artificially keep the price of corn high.

          Someone should suggest that Marcelo write a piece on “Ethanol in Brazil” to enlighten the rest of us. He is well read, writes coherently and has proven himself to be objective time and again in his articles.

          In case anyone is interested, old Mexico has outlawed the use of corn for fuel nationally and for export to the US. Corn is also a staple of their diet.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            hdc,

            People tend to confuse sweet corn (the kind we eat and recognize) with industrial field corn. Ethanol is made with the second kind (which accounts for over 90% of corn produced in the US, and is inedible unless heavily processed).

            US-market cars made after 1980 should handle 10% ethanol just fine (remember gasohol?), and the vast majority do. Any pre-1980 (35+ years) car that has issues is probably overdue for fuel system maintenance.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            hh, I know about the different kinds and varieties of cultivated corn and the corn which you reference is actually used for animal-feed after it has been boiled, drained and pressed during the ethanol-making process.

            Once dried, others use it for burning in power plants, or pressed into pellets for wood-burning stoves. Just the same as with the sweet-corn chaff.

            That 1989 Camry I bought from my buddy for $1.00 doesn’t handle E-10 very well. We’ve had to replace several rubber fuel lines over the years.

            Also, my yard machinery has to be drained for the winter because if E-10 is left in mowers, edgers, weed-whackers, generators, they won’t run worth a damn when you’re try to start them up again in the Spring.

            I’m NOT against the use of ethanol but I would like to see it made from the overabundance of high-sugar-content weeds and grasses. Before we went into drill baby drill and frack baby frack mode, ethanol made a tiny bit of sense.

            I used AVGAS 110/115 octane for many years to fuel engines until NM outlawed the sale for non-aviation use. I guess NM found out how many people were using AVGAS-blend. Now even boaters on Elephant Butte lake have to use E-10.

            AVGAS, now that was a fuel! Blended properly, it would breathe new life into even old, tired engines. Ethanol, not so much.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            >>People tend to confuse sweet corn (the kind we eat and recognize) with industrial field corn. Ethanol is made with the second kind (which accounts for over 90% of corn produced in the US, and is inedible unless heavily processed).<<

            Misleading. Corn based ethanol has raised the price of food in various ways. Farmers produced less white corn and more yellow corn for ethanol due to artificial subsidies.

            That substitution led to the price of human corn and feedstock corn going up as well, not just in the US, but around the world.

            Further, corn based ethanol is a loser economically and environmentally, except for those who benefit from the subsidy.

            Even AlGore, who broke the Senate tie by casting the deciding vote for this boondoggle stated that corn based ethanol is bad and that he only did it because he was in the process of running for prez.

            “Gore Riles Corn Ethanol Lobby”
            http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/gore-annoys-corn-ethanol-lobby/

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            A bushel of corn today is about $3.90 per bushel.

            In 1983, its CPI-adjusted price was twice that much.

            Commodity prices vary from time to time. We’ve just seen what is probably the end of a multi-year commodities bubble that inflated the price of oil, gold, and crop commodities.

            The price of corn today is about half of what it was in 2012. You need to try harder (and don’t rely upon the inaptly-named “Western Journalism” to provide you with your facts.)

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            hdc,

            The fuel line issue you have with the Camry is a Toyota problem. Some brands make fuel lines that last the life of a car, and some don’t. Honda seems to be the worse, and Ford is the best of the American brands. The Europeans don’t seem to have many issues, but they probably all use the same supplier. I think you did alright getting 25 years out of your fuel lines, even in the high desert. I certainly wouldn’t want to chance any more than that with any car.

            You need to use fuel stabilizer with small motors. It’s not about ethanol, you will have issues even if you have 0% ethanol content.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            ““Gore Riles Corn Ethanol Lobby”
            http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/gore-annoys-corn-ethanol-lobby/”

            “First-generation ethanol, I think, was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small,” he said. “It’s hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going.”

            -Al Gore as reported by Reuters and reprinted by The New York Times

            Some “western journalism” is quite credible

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Western Journalism is a right-wing website that was linked above. There are better sources for gathering facts about the blend wall problem.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I’m glad you see what I did there ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            >>The price of corn today is about half of what it was in 2012. You need to try harder (and don’t rely upon the inaptly-named “Western Journalism” to provide you with your facts.)
            <<

            Economists do agree that the corn ethanol subsidy did increase the price of human corn, and by substitution, other grains as well.

            What you stated is nice but irrelevant.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            hh, perhaps the fuel-line degradation in that old Camry is hastened by an alcohol in the fuel lines that they were never designed to withstand. All OEMs have fixed that fuel-line compound to withstand E85 by now.

            Then again, we can smell the rich aroma of evaporated gasoline in any Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart parking lot where old cars are gathered. Also among the underhood fires so many people have experienced along our roads.

            I understand that you are pro-ethanol. I don’t care about ethanol either way. I am against the government corn-subsidy and the use of feedstock for ethanol.

            If the government backed aloe and switchgrass derived ethanol, I would not care either way because it would be similar to what Big Oil enjoys for drill baby drill and frack baby frack. And that I consider a good application of taxpayer money.

            It made America a leading exporter of oil products, pharmaceuticals and fertilizers again.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            War is peace.

            Freedom is slavery.

            Ignorance is strength.

            Corn is expensive.

            The fact that corn costs half of what it used to cost and that it has become the industrial sweetener of choice in the United States because it is cheaper than sugar ought to be a huge fat (as obese on corn syrup) clue that corn is not expensive in the United States. Some folks need to wake up.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            hdc,

            I’m not strongly “pro ethanol,” but it irritates me when people repeat old myths rather than using fact-based arguments.

            Have you noticed that the gas tank repair shops are gone? It’s probably a coincidence, but gas tanks last a lot longer now. This may be because they are part of the evaporative emissions system, so automakers have to warranty them longer.

      • 0 avatar

        A scam in SO many ways. There are many other finer crops to grow than corn. Corn ethanol that by and large, through a wonderful Rube Goldbergian process, transforms perfectly good diesel into an amazingly useless fuel. It requires dedicated tankers, so backhauls are always empty. To call it “renewable” with a straight face is possible only in the RFA. Anyone importing this stuff could be sold shares in the Brooklyn Bridge easier.
        Time to stop wasting time on this loser when more worthwhile projects like biodiesel or recovering more stranded/flared gas exist.

  • avatar
    jrmason

    I wish they would export it all and let us run the good stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      ragtopman

      I live in Iowa, the land of corn juice, and I pay 30 cents a gallon more for the privilege of using “the good stuff” and have to drive to a neighboring town to get it, since the Casey’s in my town doesn’t give me the option. I won’t participate in the scam. If I’m not mistaken, e10 is poison to small engines, such as lawn mowers and snowblowers and voids their warranties.

      I also should note that the corn lobby isn’t stopping at e10. Now, they’re pushing e15 and higher blends of corn juice.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        The gap between ethanol blend and regular gas has significantly narrowed here, but somehow regular is still a tick higher than ethanol blend. There used to be several stations that offered the good stuff but now we are down to 2 without me having to drive a long way to get it. I believe all emission compliant small engines are now designed to run off of ethanol. Being I keep everything I own a long long time I have nothing that new. I will pay to use the good stuff as long as its around, but I have a feeling it won’t be long. Best thing you can do with older equipment with a carb if your running ethanol is to shut the gas off and run the engine out of fuel. I do this regardless, especially if it is going to be sitting for a while but many people do not. Typically those are the ones that ask me for help when their snow blower or lawn mower won’t run for fiddly at the beginning of the season.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    About 5% ethanol is all that’s needed, to help keep water build-up out of the tank and to replace mtbe, any more than that is mostly a farm subsidy program. Unfortunately, I foresee more export as we shift to electric vehicles, which is a terrible waste of valuable resources such as farmland and water.

  • avatar
    raph

    I’m fine with this, Cheap race gas at about 3.50 a gallon in my AO.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    We can’t start this again; I ran out of POPCORN watching the last ethanol thread. Give a guy a chance to re-stalk.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    hee hee “re-stalk”

  • avatar
    wmba

    In Canada, we get corn-juice adulterated gasoline as well. As is well known, Canada is knee deep in snow all year round, and corn struggles to grow.

    So, we bought that 836 gallons from the US. But it’s so precious, we put actual sugar in our soft drinks.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Even though ethanol production is a waste of money, especially using corn, it’s good to see the US export and earn some external dollars.

    The downside is the US taxes imported Brazilian ethanol at 58%.

    Why?

    Because sugarcane is a far more economical crop to convert into ethanol than corn.

    This means the Brazilians are more competitive.

    So, why not keep on paying farmers subsidies to export? This appears to be illogical. Why not stop the handouts to the farmers to produce corn.

    Grow corn to sell to Latin American countries. This will save billions of taxpayer (consumer) dollars. Let Brazil make ethanol because they are good at it and the US grow corn because they are good at it.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      That would make good sense. To the extent that ethanol is an oxygenate and replacement for MTBE, you only need about 5% ethanol blend, not the 10% we see in the US or the 50% (?) used in Brazil. Brazil could harvest enough sugarcane ethanol to fully supply both Brazil and US with 5% mix.

      Another issue with USA’s corn-based ethanol not mentioned yet in the comments is the heavy strain it puts on the earth. Land area, water, and (natural gas based) fertilizers that could be used for other purposes or saved for a future generation are being consumed at a wild rate. The USA is currently able to easily grow all the food it needs, but to the extent that we are draining aquifers and creating fertilizer from non-renuable resources, we are consuming resources that might one day be needed for food.

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