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US Ethanol Production and Consumption Hits All-Time Record in June

Ethanol plants in the US in operation and under construction. Click to enlarge.

US ethanol production—the vast majority from corn—increased in June to 318,000 barrels per day (bpd), an increase of nearly 28% from June 2005 and an all-time record, according to statistics released by the Renewable Fuels Association.

Demand for ethanol also rose to record levels in June at 395,000 bpd. That represents a 46,000 bpd jump from May and an increase of more than 42% from the same period a year ago. Imports and stock draw downs made up the gap.

The US consumed 283 million barrels of gasoline in June 2006—0.6% more than in June 2005—or 9.4 million barrels per day.

Currently, 101 ethanol biorefineries nationwide have the capacity to produce more than 4.8 billion gallons annually, or 114 million barrels. The US consumed 140 billion gallons of gasoline in 2005 (3.3 billion barrels). Ethanol production capacity thus represented 3.4% of consumption in 2005.

There are 42 ethanol refineries and 7 expansions under construction with a combined annual additional capacity of nearly 2.9 billion gallons.

Separately, Panda Ethanol announced that it would construct another 100-million-gallon (2.4-million-barrel) per year ethanol plant in Sherman County, Texas. The facility will annually refine approximately 40 million bushels of corn and milo into fuel ethanol.

The Sherman plant will generate the steam used in the ethanol manufacturing process by gasifying more than 1 billion pounds of cattle manure a year. Once complete, it will be one of the most fuel efficient ethanol refineries in the nation and equal in size to Panda’s Hereford facility which is the largest biomass-fueled ethanol plant in the United States.

The Sherman facility is the fourth 100 million gallon ethanol project announced by Panda, and the third to be powered by cattle manure.

Panda Ethanol previously announced that it successfully completed the debt and equity financing on its 100 million gallon ethanol plant in Hereford, Texas. The company has begun facility construction on the 380-acre site and anticipates ethanol production to commence in the second half of 2007. The company also announced that it has entered into a merger agreement with Cirracor, a publicly-held corporation which trades over the counter. The merger is currently expected to become effective in the fourth quarter of 2006, subject to the satisfaction of certain requirements, and the combined entity will operate under the name of Panda Ethanol Inc.



Here's a couple more under construction to add to the map. A cellulosic ethanol plant in Spring Hope, NC and a grain based one in Beaufort County, NC.

Herb Sewl

With the US consuming 140 billion gallons of fuel a year, this is not going to make that much of a difference.


No it won't, but at least it will make 99% of the dumb ass US population think the US is doing something worthwhile.

Sid Hoffman

It depends on what you consider a difference. If you do the math, it says we consumed 9.4 b/bbl of gasoline and 0.395 b/bbl of ethanol, so already ethanol consumption has reached 4% that of gasoline. The planned and in progress ethanol expansion raises domestic production by another 60%. It's not far fetched to believe that ethanol could reach 6% of transportation fuel use in the next two years and perhaps E10 becomes mandatory nationwide by 2012 or so.

At the same time as all this ethanol consumption is going on we should soon be seeing increased numbers of diesel offerings. If (and it's likely) fuel costs remain at their current levels for continued years, by 2010 we should have a very good starting amount of diesel vehicles and biodiesel production should begin to ramp up. By 2015 or so we could see biofuels make up perhaps 15 to 20% of ground transportation usage, which is significant. All it would take to radically increase that percentage is another superspike of oil prices to the next tier, such as $150-250/bbl thus forcing the increased adoption of biofuels.

Bill B.

new fuel for cars

Lou Grinzo

Sid: Very well put. We have to look at all the balls in motion on the pool table, not just a single one.

In addition to the things you mentioned, we should also add conservation and shifting of transportation to electricity as EV's go mainstream, which is likely by 2010. Those trends would both make the percentage contribution of ethanol even higher, as it would be replacing a shrinking portion of our transportation.

fyi CO2

Please check my math- at 318,000 barrels per day, the taxpayer subsidy is $6.8 million? Not to mention higher food prices. E85 is a win/win but only for Detroit & Agribusiness.

Isn't it still true that growers and processors can’t afford to burn ethanol to make ethanol therefore fossil fuels-not ethanol-are still used to produce ethanol?

Forget about conservation and efficiencies, maybe driving around an 8mpg Suburban/Hummer isn't all that bad as long as it's proudly displaying an American flag while burning up foodstock.


Of course, biofuels will have to compete with coal derived liquids if the price of oil gets too high.

Mark R. W. Jr.

At least we are doing something. It's better than sitting around and doing nothing. Of course, as much as I favor ethanol, I do agree with two points that many commenters have brought up before:

1. Corn based ethanol is good in the short run, but for the long run, we'll need something better to derive the fuel from. Why not GM corn, wood, or sorghum?
2. While developing ethanol, we shouldn't put our apples in one basket and should develop other fuel sources too. Why not have PHEV that run on electricity AND ethanol, gasohol, or biodiesel? Why not flex-fuel vehicles that can run on fossil fuels, alcohol, hydrogen, and CNG?

Bike Commuter Dude

This is a good thing, but not because of any of the above reasons. We should get to producing as many renewable fuels as possible, because we will eventually have to phase out fossil fuels altogether. At that point, we will have to consume exergy at a rate no faster than it is provided to us.
This is a pebble in a vast foundation that MUST be in place within our lifetimes or the future will include a vast and universal collapse in civilization. (Gulp). We can do it, but we are running on borrowed time as it is...

Harold L. Karrar

By using E-85 85% of the money stays in the U.S. the more we use helps keep the money here.

Max Reid

There is a device which costs few 100 $ and it enables gasolene vehicles to run on E85 as well.

I hope auto companies buy and install such devices even in smaller vehicles. Anyway as the sales of bigger vehicles with V8 engine falls, they will naturally sell smaller Flex-fuel vehicles.

Max Reid

Last year, 4 billion gallons of Ethanol was sold in US out of 200 billion gallons of Auto fuel (Gas + Diesel) and this gives a 2% share.

This year, atleast 4.4 billion gallons of Ethanol will be sold and the auto fuel may decline since SUV sales skidded 13 % in 2005 and 17 % in YTD-2006. This will increase the share of Ethanol fuel.

Also if we look at the attached map, 101 refineries are under production and another 42 are under construction. Actually those under construction may be bigger units and when they come online, may increase Ethanol production by atleast 50 %.



$100 to run E85? Unlikely. You need to be sure your fuel pump can flow 25-30% more fuel than it can right now (Most stock fuel pumps don't have that much margin). Then you need to get 25-30% more fuel into the engine...either all the injectors should be 25-30% larger or you need an additional fuel injector to provide another 25-30% in a TB injection style setup. Typical four cylinder 1.8L with 240cc/min injectors would have to upgrade to a minimum of 300cc/min injectors (you'd have to find a four cylinder engine with similar style injectors that has 25% more hp) or you will be installing a single injector right before the intake manifold which will give uneven distribution of fuel to the cylinders (your IM is designed to distribute air not air with a suspended fluid). The extra injector requires a controller...individual injectors don't but you are still looking at $300-400 for the fuel pump and 4 injectors not including labor (fuel pumps are no fun to replace).


An analysis of converting a car to E85 on other sights came up with .."forget it"..there are so many things that must changed it is easier to just buy an FFV.
It costs the manufacturer may $300 per vehicle but could cost the end user more than $3000 to convert..IF you can find the components.

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