The unprecedented, nationwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic sent a shockwave throughout the biofuels industry. Due to stay-at-home orders across the country, drivers vacated the roads, which caused gasoline and ethanol demand to plummet.
In just a few weeks, demand fell by 50% and ethanol production fell as low as 9.45 billion gallons annualized (compared to 15.8 billion gallons pre-pandemic). With a fast-shrinking market for biofuels, ethanol stockpiles reached all-time highs and prices crashed, causing plants to face significant losses on every gallon produced.
As ethanol plants were forced to slow production or idle altogether, markets down the supply stream were impacted too. Corn farmers struggled. Food and beverage companies and water treatment facilities that use carbon dioxide from our plants faced shortages. Livestock owners who purchase dried distillers grains (DDGs) to feed their cattle had to find more costly and less nutritious alternatives. As cars returned to the road, gasoline and ethanol demand has steadily risen, but production remains below pre-pandemic levels, and financial relief remains key to our industry’s recovery.
Growth Energy continues to support:
To achieve net-zero emissions and decarbonize the transportation sector, biofuels must be part of the solution. According to recent scientific research from @rhodium_group, #biofuels must play a role in our nation's climate agenda that @POTUS has put into place. #ClimateChange https://t.co/9QIfRdcihX
Our friends at @mncorn announced a commitment of $1 million for ethanol infrastructure grant programs. This is huge investment in the future of higher blends of ethanol, and we look forward to working together to increase access to lower-carbon fuels! growthenergy.org/2021/04/15/min…