Renewable Energy Report: May 2017 Report

Ethanol consumption in the United States has been substantially supported by the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is the federal biofuel usage mandate. Ethanol consumption also has been promoted at the state level. In Iowa for instance, the Iowa General Assembly authorized House File 2754 in 2006. This legislation established the goal that 25% of all petroleum used in the formulation of gasoline in Iowa be replaced by biofuels by 2020. To support this goal, several refundable tax credits were enacted for biofuel retailers. As of now, Iowa biofuel retailers have four tax credits available: The Ethanol Promotion Tax Credit, the E85 Gasoline Promotion Tax Credit, the E15 Plus Gasoline Promotion Tax Credit, and the Biodiesel Blended Fuel Tax Credit (IDR, 2014). 

The Ethanol Promotion Tax Credit (EPTC) was first enacted January 1, 2009. EPTC replaced the Ethanol Blend Gasoline Tax Credit, which expired December 31, 2008. The EPTC rate received by retailers ranges from $0.08 to $0.04 per gallon.

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World corn production is forecast at 1,054 million metric tons (mmt), equivalent to 41.48 billion bushels, for the 2016/2017 marketing year(1), compared to 963 million mmt (37.92 billion bushels) in 2015/2016, a more than nine percent increase, based on the April 2017 World Agriculture Production report from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS). Figure 1 shows world corn production in mmt from the 2000/2001 marketing year to the 2016/2017 marketing year. If realized, this would be the largest production ever, with the previous record at 1,016 mmt (39.99 billion bushels) during the 2014/2015 marketing year. The significant increase in world corn production projection in the 2016/2017 marketing year is due to significant increased production in Brazil and Argentina. In this month’s article, we look at historical corn production and the current forecast for the major South American corn-producing region, mainly Brazil and Argentina.

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The U.S. gasoline consumption in 2016 contained more than 10% ethanol on average for the first time ever, per a recent analysis done by the Renewable Fuels Association. To view a copy of the analysis...

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The spreadsheets listed below provide data and trends for various components of the renewable energy industry. These files are updated with new information each month.

Energy prices and their grain feedstock prices are commodity prices that are vulnerable to large swings over time.  This section provides time-series trends in these prices and their relationship to each other. Comparisons are presented for crude oil, diesel fuel and gasoline with corn and soybean prices. These monthly data series include comparisons between energy prices (crude oil, gasoline and diesel fuel) and crop prices (corn and soybeans).

The profitability of production for corn, ethanol, and biodiesel is extremely variable. Due to the volatile price nature of these products and their feedstocks, profitability can change rapidly from month to month. In addition, price variations of co-products such as distillers grains with solubles and the production facility’s energy source of natural gas add to the variability of profits. The models are updated with monthly input and output prices to show the changes in production profitability.

Balance sheets for ethanol and biodiesel, as well as their feedstocks of corn and soybean oil provide insight on available supplies, various sources of demand, and carryover stocks that are left at the end of the marketing year after all demands have been met.