Even after experiencing a sudden drop in demand due to the COVID pandemic, the U.S. ethanol industry still had a significantly positive impact on the U.S. economy in 2020, according to the annual ethanol industry economic impact study released today by the Renewable Fuels Association.
The economic analysis was prepared for the RFA by John M. Urbanchuk, Managing Partner of ABF Economics.
“Despite the disruptive effects of the COVID pandemic, economic and regulatory challenges in 2020, the ethanol industry continued to make a significant contribution to the economy in terms of job creation, generation of tax revenue, and displacement of crude oil and petroleum products,” Urbanchuk writes. “The importance of the ethanol industry to agriculture and rural economies is particularly notable.”
In 2020, more than 62,000 U.S. jobs were directly associated with the ethanol industry, which supported an additional 242,600 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy. The industry created $18.6 billion in household income and contributed $34.7 billion to the national gross domestic product. This was 19 percent below 2019’s GDP contribution, primarily as the result of lower output and lower prices.
“Even though the pandemic created enormous headwinds for our industry in 2020, the resilience of the men and women who work in the U.S. renewable fuels sector shined through,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The ethanol industry certainly was not spared from the devastation that beset the entire U.S. economy in 2020, but the nation’s 200-plus ethanol biorefineries continued to provide good-paying jobs in scores of rural communities. And those essential workers did more than produce renewable fuel and livestock feed in 2020—they also made virus-killing sanitizers and the dry ice used to ship millions of doses of life-saving vaccines.”