Ethanol Facts: Economy

The economic impact of domestic ethanol production is felt far outside the biorefinery.  In hundreds of communities across the nation, ethanol production is creating well paying jobs where jobs are too often few and far between.

FACT: In 2013, the production of 13.3 billion gallons of ethanol supported 86,504 direct jobs in renewable fuel production and agriculture in the U.S., as well as 300,277 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy.
Source: Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States

These are quality jobs in fields like engineering, chemistry, and accounting, that provide a good wage and important benefits. 

FACT: In 2013, the U.S. ethanol industry added $44 billion to the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and paid $8.3 billion in taxes.  The sector's economic activity and job creation helped raise  household income $30.7 billion. 

The U.S. ethanol industry spent $36.1 billion on raw materials, other inputs, and goods and services.  The production of ethanol, distillers grains, corn oil, and other products at the nation's ethanol biorefinieries create tens of billions of dollars in value.  Moreover, the value-added market for grains and other feedstocks helped strengthen those markets for farmers.  Additionally, these products represent a growing export opportunity.

FACT: The ethanol industry generates jobs, raises revenues and helps revive rural America.

A 2013 Ethanol Producer Magazine revealed that workers employed in the ethanol industry are well compensated, highly educated and enjoy what they do for a living.  46% reported earning salaries of more than $75,000 per year, and another 45% reported salaries between $40,000 and $74,999.  In terms of benefits, 96% of respondents had health insurance and 92% had retirement plans.  55% of respondents are college graduates, while another 30% took some college courses or earned post-high school vocational/technical training or certification. 68% reported being "satisfied" or "extremely satisfied" with their jobs.

FACT: Ethanol refineries serve as local economic power houses.

While the national economic impact of ethanol production is impressive, small and rural communities with ethanol facilities nearby see a much more dramatic economic boost. An 85 million gallon per year ethanol biorefinery provides the following economic benefits to the local economy:

  • The goods and services bought and sold as a result of the operation of the ethanol facility add $274 million to the local GDP.
  • The economic activity resulting from the ethanol biorefinery help create 1,540 new jobs across all sectors. Those include nearly 40 at the biorefinery and more than 1,500 in the agricultural sector.
  • The increase in good paying jobs as a result of the facility boosts local household incomes by $49 million.

Source: Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States, LECG, LLC, February 2010.

The rapid rate of innovation and evolution within U.S. ethanol production is bringing new technologies to the market that will increase efficiencies, create new markets for energy crops and waste materials, and employ hundreds of thousands of Americans in innovative new careers, creating a wide range of biofuels using a wide range of sources.  The Abengoa Bioenergy cellulosic ethanol biorefinery under construction in Hugoson, Kansas, will employ 300 people during construction and 65 full time employees once operational. 

Last updated: March 2014