US Ethanol Exports on Track for One of the Best Years on Record

  • Monday, 19 September 2022 09:14

Ethanol Producer Magazine

Sep 16, 2022

With two months remaining in marketing year 2021-'22, the U.S. has exported nearly 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol, up over 20% year-over-year as COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift, and drivers return to the road. Total exports are up in nearly every top-10 market, apart from India and Peru, according to the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service database. The U.S. Grains Council continuously conducts programs, hosts missions and facilitates conversations with stakeholders in these markets, leading to significant gains in Canada, the EU, U.K. and Japan, and continuing to move U.S. ethanol exports forward.

Canada has remained a top market for U.S. ethanol through the past decade. The country is currently blending an average of 7% ethanol nationwide, and so far this marketing year has imported nearly 372 million gallons, up over 80 million gallons from the previous marketing year. Most recently, the Canadian government released its Canadian Clean Fuel Standard, a regulation that anticipates reaching an average ethanol blend of 15% nationwide by 2030, in response to demands for lower-carbon fuels and bolstered by progressive provincial mandates. Momentum will continue into both the near- and long-term future as CFS implementation begins in January 2023.

Another bright spot is exports to the EU and the U.K., which are up more than 60% and 600% year over year, respectively. These two markets represent a shift within the European energy framework as ethanol continues to be a driving factor in decarbonizing the transportation sector. In September 2021, the U.K. began its transition from a 5% ethanol blend to a 10% ethanol blend to reduce annual carbon emissions by nearly 800,000 metric tons. Already averaging an 8% national ethanol blend rate, the U.K.’s move toward E10 could easily call for 100 million gallons of additional demand for U.S. ethanol.

Japan has been one of the most notable success stories for U.S. ethanol this marketing year. The country did not start importing U.S. ethanol until 2018, but since then, Japan has blended ethanol in the form of ETBE, equal to a 1.7 % ethanol blend nationwide. This blend rate lands Japan as a top-10 market for U.S. ethanol. Based on USGC data, exports to Japan have reached 11 million gallons per month, totaling nearly 90 million gallons in marketing year 2021- '22.

Other countries to watch are South Korea, India and Indonesia. South Korea has gradually increased imports of industrial grade U.S. ethanol, moving to the third largest market this marketing year. The country currently has no biofuel policy, but presents the opportunity to become a significant fuel grade market in the near future.

The USGC remains committed to maintaining a robust industrial market that services biobased chemicals and promotes ethanol as a feedstock solution for acetate and acrylate end uses.

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