The ethanol industry produced 4.86 billion gallons in 2006, up 24.3% from the year before, according to data released by the Renewable Fuels Association and the Energy Information Administration Monday. The production numbers represent an average of 317,000 barrels or 13.3 million gallons a day.
Ethanol demand increased as well, to 5.4 billion gallons or an average of 350,000 barrels a day - a 33% increase over 2005.
Ethanol imports rose as well, according to the data, from 133.6 million gallons in 2005 to 653 million gallons last year - around 434 million of those coming directly from Brazil.
"The marketplace for ethanol is working," says RFA President Bob Dinneen. "As gasoline refiners voluntarily abandoned MTBE last spring, increased imports of ethanol were needed to meet the growing demand for ethanol as our domestic industry ramped up to meet this unexpected new market. The vast majority of these imports paid the necessary credit offsets and competed effectively in the U.S."
RFA places national ethanol production capacity at over 5.6 billion gallons, produced by 114 ethanol biorefineries. An additional capacity of 6 billion gallons could be added by 78 new refineries and 7 expansions under construction.