Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper addressed attendees of the 25th annual National Ethanol Conference in Houston today, painting a clear picture of the hardships faced in 2019 and making the case for an optimistic industry outlook for 2020 in his annual State of the Industry remarks. 2019 marked just the third time in the last three decades where output fell from the preceding year, Cooper said. Previous decreases in annual outputin 1996 and 2012were both tied to historic droughts, short crops, and record high corn prices. The drop in ethanol output this time was caused by a disaster of an entirely different sort: policy uncertainty, bureaucratic meddling, and aggravating marketplace barriers. In the face of demand-destroying regulatory barriers and political uncertainty, Cooper highlighted how the ethanol industry continued to serve as a vital source of good-paying jobs and economic activity in hard-hit rural communities in 2019, citing key statistics from RFAs annual study on the economic contributions of the ethanol industry. Released on Monday, the study measures the industrys sizable economic footprint. Key figures show that in 2019 alone, the U.S. ethanol industry:
- Produced 15.8 billion gallons of high-octane, clean-burning renewable fuel;
- Supported nearly 69,000 jobs directly, and another 280,000 indirect or induced jobs across the economy;
- Contributed $43 billion to the U.S. GDP, raised household incomes by more than $23 billion, and generated $8 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues.