Ethanol exports are a big winner for US agri-business sector. But with trade controversies, will the ethanol export boom go up in smoke?
American-produced ethanol keeps on chugging overseas, despite being embroiled in politics and trade disputes – current and potential—that pretty much span the globe and threaten to upend sales. Ethanol exports for the first quarter of 2017 hit a record 387.6 million gallons, according to data released by the Renewable Fuels Association. At that pace, export totals could eclipse 1.5 billion gallons this year, the association said, which would make 2017 by far the biggest year on record.
Corn-based ethyl alcohol, used as a gasoline additive to boost octane, became an export of particular value about six years ago. In 2009, the US became the lowest cost ethanol producer and customers around the world took note. Exports jumped from 113 million gallons in 2009 to 1.2 billion gallons in 2011, with a value in excess of $3 billion. “It went from a small component of business to a significant portion,” explained Ed Hubbard, the association’s general counsel…
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