National Ethanol Industry


The United States ethanol industry added $43 billion to the Gross Domestic Product in 2019. It also added $23.3 billion in household income. The ethanol industry also spent more than $27 billion on raw materials, inputs and other goods and services.  



The nation’s ethanol industry supports more than 349,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy.



Each plant contributes to the local economy by providing jobs at above average wages and an additional market for locally grown corn. In 2019, a typical dry mill ethanol plant added nearly $1.20 of additional value, or 31 percent, to every bushel of corn processed.



In 2019, 15.8 billion gallons of ethanol was produced at 190 plants in 26 states. This is down from 16.1 billion gallons in 2018.    



Ethanol is blended with nearly every gallon of the nation’s gasoline supply. The ethanol used in 2019 accounts for more than 10 percent of the nation’s motor fuel supply, up from less than 1 percent 20 years ago. In addition, 1.5 billion gallons (roughly 10 percent of production) was exported in 2019. Brazil (24 percent) and Canada (22 percent) make up nearly half of all shipments.    



The nation’s ethanol industry uses nearly 30 percent of corn produced in the United States for ethanol and co-product production, which includes 39.6 million metric tons of high-quality livestock feed.



The Renewable Fuels Standard requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be used annually by 2022. This includes 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol and 21 billion gallons of additional fuels created from biomass and cellulosic feedstock.


Numerous studies show use of ethanol has reduced gas prices by more than $1 per gallon, which is the equivalent to $1,200 annually for the average American household.



Ethanol use reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent.



The 15.8 billion gallons of ethanol used in the United States in 2019 displaced 559 million barrels of imported oil. In addition, use of domestic ethanol in 2019 decreased dependence on foreign oil by six percent – from 10 to 4 percent.



In 2019, the nation’s ethanol industry produced 39.6 million metric tons (mmt) of distillers grains, gluten feed and gluten meal. These bio-products are valuable corn and soybean meal substitutes in rations used around the world to feed beef and dairy cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, fish, and other animals. Approximately 10.9 mmt were exported in 2019 with half the exports going to Southeast and East Asia and another quarter going to Mexico. Also produced were 3.8 billion pounds of corn distillers oil, a nearly $1 billion market underpinning the production of biodiesel and animal feed. The industry also captured 5.8 billion pounds of high-grade biogenic CO2 for North American food/beverage and industrial markets.



Natural gas and electricity use at ethanol plants has decreased nearly 40 percent since 1995, while consumptive water use has been cut in half. This is while ethanol yields increased by more than 15 percent. In addition, one unit of energy invested in making ethanol yields up to 2.3 units of energy available to the consumer.



The USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership program and ethanol industry initiatives, such as Prime the Pump, made E15 available at more than 2,100 stations in 30 states, and more than 95 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. are approved for E15. As a result, in 2019, E15 sales (450 million gallons) surpassed E85 sales (425 million) for the first time.