Iowa Breaks Ethanol Production Record

Cindy Zimmerman

Iowa ethanol plants had another record-breaking year in 2018, producing 4.35 billion gallons, up from 4.2 billion gallons in 2017.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw said the increased production is due largely to record exports and despite this success, producers suffered from lower margins.

“This record production is a testament to the resilience of Iowa’s ethanol producers,” Shaw said. “This past year, they were hit with demand-destroying small-refinery exemptions and a closed Chinese market. The resulting low or in some cases negative margins made 2018 a tough year for ethanol producers and our corn suppliers. Iowa ethanol producers have weathered the storm fairly well given the reports of idled and even shuttered plants in other states.”

Shaw said action is needed to return profitability to the industry by growing markets abroad and at home.

“We hope that 2019 can get ethanol demand out of neutral and growing again with a properly enforced RFS, year-round E15, and the reopening of the China market,” he said. “Much depends on the actions of the Trump Administration and the EPA. It is within their power to set us on the course for not only record ethanol production, but restored prosperity in rural America.”

Iowa’s production is approximately 27 percent of total U.S. ethanol production for 2018.

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