Tuesday, January 4, 2011

US Ethanol Production Hit All-Time High in October: EIA Data

Platts, Dec 31, 2010
US monthly production of fuel ethanol reached an all-time high in October, figures released Thursday by the US Energy Information Administration show.

In October, US producers manufactured 27,410,000 barrels of fuel ethanol, up from 26,061,000 in September. The previous record was set in August, at 26,963,000 barrels, according to EIA's data.

The agency's data also showed stocks declined in October, to 17,295,000 barrels, from 17,408,000 barrels at end-September.

The US imported no fuel ethanol in October, EIA's report showed.

Industry analyst Andy Lipow calculated the percentage of ethanol in the US gasoline pool at 9.5% for October by converting the October ethanol production figure to 884,200 b/d, using US Department of Agriculture data to put exports at 26,800 b/d, and factoring in the stock draw.

Using EIA figures, Lipow calculated the overall October demand in the US for fuel ethanol to be 861,000 b/d. EIA put gasoline demand for October at 9,086,000 b/d, resulting in his 9.5% of the gasoline pool figure.

The January-to-October figures show average fuel ethanol production of 851,300 b/d, imports of ... , consumption of 825,700 b/d, and gasoline consumption of 9,054,000 b/d. This put ethanol at 9.1% of the US gasoline pool, according to Lipow.

The percentage of ethanol in the total pool of gasoline is significant in that a typical gallon of ethanol-blended gasoline has 10% ethanol in it; the 9.5% figure shows that ethanol has nearly saturated the US market.

The US Renewable Fuel Standard will push the required use of ethanol in coming years to well over the 10% of the gasoline pool. To that end, the Environmental Protection Agency has changed regulations to allow up to 15% blends in newer US vehicles. Automakers and gasoline sellers have criticized that move, citing insufficient testing of the new fuel in engines.

(Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from various plant materials, which collectively are called "biomass." In the United States it is most commonly produced from corn and used in gasoline at volume fractions of 10 percent or less, creating a fuel called E10 or "gasohol." Low-level blends, up to E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline), are classified as "substantially similar" to gasoline by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meaning they can be used legally in any gasoline-powered vehicle. On October 13, 2010, the EPA partially granted Growth Energy's waiver request application submitted under section 211(f)(4) of the Clean Air Act. This partial waiver will allow fuel and fuel additive manufacturers to introduce into commerce gasoline that contains greater than 10 volume percent (vol%) ethanol and up to 15 vol% ethanol (E15) for use only in model year (MY) 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (i.e., cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles) once certain other conditions are fulfilled. -- See here . E10 has also been mandated in the state of Florida by Dec 31, 2010. -- See Ethanol Blend Mandate, here. It is important to emphasize that ethanol is increasingly available in E85 (i.e. 85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) -- see photos below, an alternative fuel that can be used in flexible fuel vehicles. Studies have estimated that ethanol and other biofuels could replace 30% or more of U.S. gasoline demand by 2030. -- See here.
                                                  Biofuels pumps
                                           Source: www.fueleconomy.gov here   

Source: http://news.tennesseeanytime.org/ here. Description: Green Island Grants support retail E85 and B20 pumps like these at a station along I-65 in Goodlettesville, just north of Nashville.  

E10 and other blends would help reduce foreign oil demand and greenhouse gas emissions. B20, shown in the photos above, is a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel and can be used in almost all diesel engines without modifications. Biodiesel is a clean, renewable fuel produced from vegetable oils, such as soybeans, or animal fats. B20 is the most common biodiesel blend in the United States. Using B20 provides substantial benefits but avoids many of the cold-weather performance and material compatibility concerns associated with B100. -- D.R.)

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