WASHINGTON — The U.S. ethanol industry exported 836 million gallons of ethanol worth $1.8 billion in 2015, according to a new summary of ethanol trade statistics released today by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). The final tally for 2015 was identical to the 2014 export total. The RFA publication, which draws data from several U.S. government entities, offers a succinct overview of U.S. ethanol export and import trends in 2015 and prior years. RFA’s new statistical summary will be distributed to attendees of the upcoming National Ethanol Conference (NEC), including prospective ethanol importers attending the International Buyer Program (IBP).

The RFA report finds that U.S. ethanol made its way to all six inhabited continents in 2015, reaching more than 75 countries. The top five countries receiving U.S. ethanol last year included Canada, Brazil, the Philippines, China, and South Korea. Notably, China emerged in 2015 as a leading destination for U.S. ethanol, and total exports to Asia are up 1,515 percent over 2012. While U.S. ethanol exports had a strong showing in 2015, imports of ethanol continued to sag. The United States imported just 93 million gallons of ethanol last year, with more than one-third entering through California ports.

Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO, noted, “Ethanol’s value as an octane booster was in the global spotlight in 2015. Even with falling crude oil prices, ethanol remained the lowest-cost—and cleanest—source of octane in the world. Clearly, refiners in foreign markets are optimizing their operations to take advantage of ethanol’s unique octane properties, just as U.S. refiners have done in recent years.”

Dinneen said the RFA and its partners will continue to seek opportunities to expand foreign markets in 2016. “Growth in the export market is critically important to the future of our industry,” Dinneen stated. “With EPA failing to enforce the Renewable Fuel Standard volumes established by Congress, we must continue to aggressively seek new market opportunities around the world. We will continue to work collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Foreign Agriculture Service, U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, and others to expand international markets for American-made ethanol.”

One such opportunity to build new markets is just around the corner. RFA’s upcoming National Ethanol Conference, held Feb. 15–17 in New Orleans, will serve as host to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP). Through the department’s network of offices in U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, the IBP recruits pre-screened foreign buyer delegations and brings them to selected trade shows and conferences in the United States, connecting U.S. companies with international buyers. Prospective ethanol buyers from Brazil, India, Mexico, Peru, and the Philippines are expected to attend.

“The RFA is excited about participating in the IBP, and for the opportunity the program provides to create a pathway that connects domestic ethanol producers with international markets,” said Randall J. Doyal, RFA Board of Directors Chairman. “By providing a forum to establish these important business-to-business relationships, the NEC will serve as the premier destination for U.S. ethanol producers who are looking for opportunities to promote their products on the world stage.”

View the summary here.