Ethanol Consumption On Track To Reach 13.4 Billion Gallons?

  • Monday, 12 October 2015 00:00

Ethanol consumption this year may total 13.4 billion gallons, according to new RIN generation data by the EPA and ethanol exports by the RFA. 

The EPA's latest RIN generation report said a total of 9.49 billion D6 RINS were generated for corn ethanol produced in the first eight months of the year. 

On an annualized basis, this amounts to 14.23 billion gallons of ethanol for the whole of 2015. According to the RFA and data from the EIA, 565.5 million gallons of ethanol have been exported while 31.15 million gallons have been imported. On an annualized basis, exports would total 848.34 million gallons while imports would clock in at 46.72 million.

By factoring both exports and imports, domestic ethanol consumption would be 13.4 billion gallons. If that sounds familiar, it's because that's the same as the EPA's RFS target for 2015. 

It also suggests the EPA had annualized ethanol production and export patterns back in May (when it announced its targets) to arrive at the target of 13.4 billion gallons. 

And considering that the EPA only announced its 2015 targets six months after 2015 had begun, it was highly unlikely the agency was going to stick to the original target of 15 billion gallons. 

Still, had the EPA announced the 2015 targets in November 2014 (as it should have), there would have been time for the industry to adjust by expanding E15 and E85 availability. 

Had the EPA stuck to the original targets, some 4.5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions (the equivalent of nearly a million cars) would have been prevented this year. 

However, the EPA can still make amends by reverting to 2016's original target of 15 billion gallons (instead of the 14 billion gallons it has proposed). The USDA's current grant program will see the installation of 4,880 higher ethanol blended pumps although it is believed the majority of them will be E15 and E85 pumps. 

And there's Iowa State University's latest study which concludes that the 15 billion gallon ethanol consumption target for next year is achieveable through E85 usage.