Policy obstaclesespecially ongoing trade disputes and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys granting of RFS compliance waivers to dozens of small refineries dampened the U.S. ethanol industrys economic contributions in 2019, according to a new study released today at the Renewable Fuels Associations 25th annual National Ethanol Conference. Still, despite these challenges, the ethanol industry supported nearly 350,000 jobs and generated almost $43 billion in gross domestic product in 2019, according to the analysis conducted by ABF Economics. The U.S. ethanol industry was buffeted by several factors that forced producers to cut operating rates and, in some cases, shut plantsresulting in only the second decline in annual industry output in two decades, the report noted. This was primarily the result of regulatory concerns associated with the EPAs continued support for small refinery exemptions, effects of the U.S.-China trade war, and declining gasoline demand. Nevertheless, the ethanol industry continues to make a substantial positive contribution to the American economy. According to the analysis, the production and use of 15.8 billion gallons of ethanol in 2019:
- Supported more than 68,600 direct jobs and just over 280,000 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy;
- Added more than $23 billion in income for American households;
- Generated an estimated $4.1 billion in tax revenue to the federal treasury and $3.8 billion in revenue to state and local governments;
- Supported more than 14,700 jobs and $5.8 billion in GDP through exports alone; and
- Displaced an amount of gasoline refined from more than 500 million barrels of imported crude oil, keeping $32 billion in the U.S. economy.