U.S. production of ethanol hit a record 14.8 billion gallons in 2015, and when combined with the carry-over stocks from the previous year and 2015 imports, the total ethanol supply reached an all-time high of 15.7 billion gallons, according to a report by USDA’s Economic Research Service.
Nearly all ethanol blended into the U.S. gasoline supply is produced domestically, and, over the past five years, about 94 percent of domestic production was used in the United States.
Ethanol imports peaked in 2006 at 731 million gallons (equal to 12 percent of the U.S. supply), but each year since 2010 exports have exceeded imports, making the United States a net exporter of ethanol, according to ERS.
The domestic market for ethanol is at full capacity due to the technical and regulatory constraints that limit most of the U.S. gasoline supply to a 10 percent maximum ethanol blend, so the export market is now the primary opportunity for growth.
Ethanol exports peaked in 2011 at nearly 1.2 billion gallons, but have remained below 850 million gallons for the past four years.
The accompanying chart is based on the ERS U.S. Bioenergy Statistics data product.