Lindsay Mitchell

Mar 06, 2013  |  Today's News

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today released a new video entitled “40 Facts About Ethanol.” It is a fast-paced, up-tempo, animated data-based review of ethanol past, present and future. Take a look and then print out the 40 facts to share at your coffee shop next week!

“This video proves once and for all that today’s ethanol is not your father’s ethanol. The ethanol industry has made impressive strides in the last 30 years in production volumes, foreign oil displacement, production efficiencies, co-products, job creation, and cellulose and advanced ethanol market entry. The ethanol industry has a great story to tell and this video helps us tell it with data, color and occasionally humor. Whether you think you know all there is about ethanol or you are new to the topic, this video is a must-see! It is a great primer,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA’s President and CEO.


  • 1982: A handful of small ethanol plants produced 350 million gallons of ethanol.
  • 1992: 39 ethanol plants produced 985 million gallons of ethanol.
  • 2002: 66 ethanol plants were in operation, producing 2.14 billion gallons.
  • 2012: 211 ethanol plants produced 13.3 billion gallons.
  • That’s 3700% growth in 30 years.
  • Today, ethanol makes up 10% of the U.S. gasoline supply. That’s up from less than 1% just 20 years ago.
  • Ethanol is blended in more than 97% of U.S. gasoline today, from coast to coast and border to border. That compares to just 15% in 2002.
  • Last year, ethanol displaced an amount of gasoline refined from 462 million barrels of imported crude oil. That’s more oil than we imported from Saudi Arabia.
  • And it means the U.S. reduced expenditures on imported oil by $44 billion last year.
  • Oil imports from OPEC are down 22% since the Renewable Fuel Standard was expanded in 2007.
  • And oil imports from the Persian Gulf are down 30% over the past decade.
  • Oil import dependence dropped to 41% in 2012 — the lowest since 1995. Without ethanol, oil import dependence would have been 48%.
  • Today’s producers get more ethanol out of every bushel—and use less energy and water to do it. That’s the definition of sustainability.
  • Since 2001: Natural gas energy required to produce a gallon of ethanol has fallen 28%.
  • Electricity use is down 32%. The amount of ethanol produced per bushel of corn has increased to 2.8 gallons, up more than 5%.
  • Water use has fallen to 2.7 gallons per gallon of ethanol, down 40% over the last decade and comparable to water use for gasoline production.
  • Producing 20 barrels of ethanol requires just 1 barrel of crude oil.
  • Ethanol’s energy balance is continually improving: 1 unit of energy invested in making ethanol yields up to 2.3 units of energy available for the consumer.
  • Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 40-50% when compared directly to gasoline.
  • Emissions of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, air toxics and volatile organic compounds are also reduced when ethanol is blended with gasoline.
  • Ethanol is the c leanest and most affordable source of octane on the market today, displacing toxic aromatics such as benzene and toluene.
  • Ethanol plants are important economic engines in Rural America.
  • The industry was directly responsible for 87,000 jobs in 2012 and indirectly supported 295,000 more.
  • More than $43.4 billion in U.S. gross domestic product was generated by the industry last year.
  • Consumers benefit too: ethanol reduced gasoline prices by an average of $1.09 per gallon in 2011.
  • That means the average American family saved $1,200 on gasoline purchases in 2011 because of ethanol.
  • From 2000 to 2011, growth in ethanol use reduced gasoline prices by an average of $0.29 per gallon.
  • That saved the U.S. economy nearly $40 billion per year from 2000-2011 in gasoline purchases.
  • Ethanol plants make more than fuel; they also generate highly nutritious animal feed.
  • 1/3 of every bushel processed by a plant is used to make animal feed, while 1/3 goes to ethanol, and the other 1/3 produces CO2.
  • Ethanol uses only the starch in the grain—the protein, fat, and fiber components are made into animal feed, such as distillers grains.
  • Distillers grains have superior feeding value to corn, but typically costs less.
  • Distillers grains are fed to beef and dairy cattle, hogs, poultry, fish and other meat animals around the world.
  • The industry generated 37 million metric tons of feed in 2012—enough to produce seven quarter-pound hamburger patties for every person on the planet.
  • The first generation of ethanol plants primarily uses grain to produce ethanol. But a second wave of advanced ethanol plants is being built that will use a new generation of feedstocks.
  • At least eight commercial advanced ethanol plants are under construction or commissioning. At least 10 more facilities are in the engineering phase, while a dozen more are in the pilot/demonstration stage.
  • These plants will use “cellulosic biomass” to make ethanol; things like corn stalks, wheat straw, poplar, paper waste, forestry residues, municipal waste and other materials.
  • Cellulosic ethanol promises to reduce GHG emissions by up to 110% compared to gasoline.
  • Many of these plants will also produce electricity.
  • The U.S. could produce 75 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels, five times the amount currently produced, according to the Department of Energy.

    A source list for the facts used is also available at www.EthanolRFA.org.