Since more than 70 percent of the ethanol produced in the United States is transported by rail across the lower 48 states as well as into Canada and Mexico, the industry breathed a collective sigh of relief Friday as President Biden signed legislation passed by Congress to avert a major national rail strike.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said, “Shutting down the rails would have shut down our industry’s ability to provide lower-cost, low-carbon ethanol and other important co-products like distillers grains to customers here at home and across the border to Canada and Mexico. More than 400,000 jobs across America are supported by the ethanol industry, and a long rail dispute would no doubt have put many of them at risk.”
“The American Coalition for Ethanol thanks President Biden for pressing Congress to pass legislation that resolves the rail dispute, as a strike would have had a domino effect on our industry, from the producers of the fuel to midstream partners and ultimately the retailers and motorists who fill up with low-cost fuel at the pump,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO.
Over the last five years, U.S. railroads have transported an average of nearly 395,000 carloads of ethanol per year. In addition, roughly 25 percent of grain comes into ethanol plants by train, and an estimated 30 percent of outbound distillers grains, an important livestock feed produced at biorefineries, departs via rail.