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U.S. ethanol production capacity reaches 15.5 billion gallons

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Iowa was one of three states helping increase U.S. fuel ethanol production capacity.

According to U.S. Energy Administration’s (EIA) recent U.S. Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity report, fuel ethanol production capacity in the United States reached 15.5 billion gallons per year, increasing by more than 600 million gallons per year – roughly 4%. Of the 198 ethanol plants in the United States, the majority is located in the Midwest region, according to the Petroleum Administration for Defense District. Total nameplate capacity for the Midwest region equaled 14 billion gallons per year at the beginning of 2017, increasing by more than 530 million gallons per year – roughly 4%.

Total nameplate production – the plant manufacturer’s stated design capacity to produce fuel ethanol during a 12-month period – is how EIA measures ethanol production capacity. Of the top 13 ethanol-producing states, 12 are located in the Midwest region. Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois lead the top ethanol-producing states, having contained more than half of the nation’s total ethanol production capacity.

Actual fuel ethanol production in the U.S. reached 14.8 billion gallons in 2016. It was projected for fuel ethanol production to reach 15.8 billion gallons in 2017, equivalent to slightly more than 100% utilization of reported nameplate capacity as of January 1, 2017, according to EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Note: Nameplate capacity is not necessarily a physical production limit for ethanol plants. By applying more efficient operating techniques, if market conditions provide an incentive to do so, ethanol plants can operate at levels that regularly exceed their nameplate production capacity. This level of operation, called maximum sustainable capacity, is inherently subjective.

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