SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – While America’s traditional fossil fuel-based energy supply struggles to keep up with demand and mend infrastructure disruptions, U.S. ethanol producers are providing record amounts of a homegrown, renewable fuel.
“Ethanol is a critically important way for America to diversify its energy portfolio and shield itself against price spikes and supply disruptions,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol, a national nonprofit association promoting the use and production of ethanol.
Record pace. According to data released Oct. 24 from the Energy Information Administration, America’s ethanol industry produced another monthly record in August: 260,000 barrels of ethanol per day.
One barrel equals 42 U.S. gallons. For every barrel of ethanol produced, 1.2 barrels of petroleum are displaced at the refinery.
The August record continues a trend of rapidly increasing ethanol production. Average daily ethanol production in May was 237,000 barrels per day (bpd); June 249,000 bpd; July 258,000 bpd; August 260,000 bpd.
This August’s level is up 15.5 percent from last August when the daily average production was 225,000 barrels per day.
Growth spurt. “New ethanol plants are coming on line at the rate of nearly two per month,” Jennings said.
Nearly half of the ethanol production in the country, he added, is owned by farmers and other local investors.
Fuel blends. In 2004, ethanol was blended into approximately one-third of America’s gasoline.
The majority of this ethanol was blended as E10 – 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent unleaded gasoline. This fuel is covered by warranty for use in all makes and models of vehicles.
E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline for use in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). FFVs can operate on either straight gasoline or any blend of ethanol up to 85 percent.
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