ethanol plant
RECORD: An extra 100 million gallons of ethanol was produced in Iowa in 2017 compared to 2016, thanks to several plant expansions and increased demand.

2017 Iowa ethanol production hits record 4.2B gallons

Higher blends and exports are key to unlocking the potential for ethanol production.

Iowa’s 43 ethanol plants had another record-breaking year, producing 4.2 billion gallons in 2017. The slight uptick in production from 4.1 billion gallons in 2016 is largely due to several plant expansions and increased demand for exports of the corn-based fuel, and the growing demand for higher blends like E15.

“Iowa continues to lead the country and the world in ethanol production and efficiency,” says Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “Several plant expansions have been completed or will finish being built during the first quarter of 2018, so production could jump again next year. That makes expanding our ethanol export markets abroad and breaking down unnecessary barriers to using more E15 here at home top priorities.”

Expand cost-share program for blender pumps
IRFA’s policy priority for 2018 is securing funding for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program to ensure more retailers have the equipment necessary to offer higher blends of ethanol now and in the future. However, coupled with RFIP funding, action at the federal level would create the best environment for retailers to move forward with E15.

“The EPA needs to provide the same regulatory treatment for E15 as all other ethanol blends,” Shaw says. “That step alone would draw many more fuel retailers across the nation into offering the option of E15 to their customers. Also, with ethanol as the world’s cheapest source of fuel octane, we’ll be working to continue to build on the record exports of 2017.”

2018 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will discuss the significant impact biofuels will continue to have on Iowa’s economy and future energy strategy at the 2018 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Jan. 30 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, near Des Moines.

“As the country’s No. 1 producer of ethanol and biodiesel, renewable fuels mean a great deal for Iowa’s economic growth and energy security,” Reynolds says. “These homegrown fuels add value to ag commodities currently facing low prices and provide good jobs for rural communities. As governor, I will continue to fight for state and federal policies that provide renewable fuels fair access to consumers.”

Summit free, registration required
IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw welcomes Reynolds back to the summit as Iowa’s governor. “Gov. Reynolds has been a true champion for biofuels and Iowa’s ag economy,” he says. “She understands the potential biofuels have to diversify America’s energy profile. Given her long track record of support, we’re excited to hear her views on how biofuels will fit into Iowa’s future economy and energy landscape.”

The summit is free to attend and open to the public. Registration is required. The last day to preregister is Jan. 26. Go online to  

IRFA represents the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry, working to foster its growth. Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production with 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing 4 billion gallons annually, including nearly 55 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity, and 12 biodiesel facilities with capacity to produce over 380 million gallons annually. For information, visit

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