US ethanol exports on the rise; group blames blend cap

10 June 2010 21:19  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US ethanol exports in January-April surpassed volumes exported for the entire year 2009, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said on Thursday, renewing calls for the US to lift its 10% restriction on ethanol blending.

“American ethanol producers continue to be forced to look for overseas markets for their product as domestic markets for ethanol remain saturated due to the regulatory cap on blending levels,” said RFA vice president of Research Geoff Cooper.

The US between January and April exported 124.3m gal of ethanol, surpassing the 113.3m gal shipped during the 2009 calendar year, the association said.

Exports in April fell to 40.8m gal from 48.3m gal in March, the RFA said, citing the latest data from the Department of Commerce.

The US this year has shipped ethanol to the EU, India, Jamaica, Australia, Canada and Brazil.

The RFA also attributed the rise in US exports to the relatively low price of US ethanol, but it said the US was missing the chance of using a cheap, homegrown alternative to crude oil and was instead sending that product overseas.

“As a matter of national energy security, America should first seek to maximise its use of domestic renewable fuels before it turns to overseas markets,” the group said.

The US ethanol industry is campaigning for an increase in ethanol blending from 10% to 15%.

US ethanol heavyweight ADM this week urged the government to immediately increase blending to 12% for all US vehicles, saying the US ethanol market had reached a point of saturation in a letter to regulators.

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By: William Lemos
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