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:
"90% of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation today are from petroleum. So anything on the alternative fuel side to reduce our dependence on oil is a positive" - Chris Bliley, Senior VP @GrowthEnergy #DCEnergyEXPO #EESItalk