For more than a decade, the ethanol industry has been extremely vital to Iowa, creating new jobs, stabilizing the economy and providing a cleaner burning, homegrown fuel choice for consumers.

The Iowa Corn Grow­­­ers Association (ICGA) promotes the four E’s of ethanol: economy, environment, energy security and engine performance. 

Today, Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production, with 47 percent (1.3 billion bushels) of corn grown in the state going to create nearly 30 percent of America’s ethanol. In 2015, the ethanol industry supported 39,592 jobs in Iowa accounting for $4.2 billion of Iowa’s GDP and $2 billion of income for Iowa households.

The production and use of American ethanol has greatly increased our nation’s ability to be more energy secure. The domestic ethanol produced in 2015 displaced an amount of refined gasoline equating to 527 million barrels of crude oil.

Fueling vehicles with the highest blend of ethanol when possible also makes a big difference to Iowa’s air quality. In 2015, the use of American ethanol reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 41.2 million metric tons, this is equivalent to removing 8.7 million cars from the road. Plus, ethanol production requires less water than gasoline, by a 3 to 1 margin making it more environmentally friendly. 

That’s why the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest is working with several organizations, including the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB), to launch the Clean Air Choice campaign to help drivers understand the correlation between ethanol and lung health.

Consumers with Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) are encouraged to use E85 because of the high ethanol content, which has even greater lung health benefits. One in 10 vehicles in Iowa can use E85. Visit for a listing of E15 to E85 stations and flex-fuel vehicles.

The Iowa Corn Promotion Board continues to invest in programs and activities which raise awareness and educate consumers and further expand the ethanol industry in our state. These programs include:

• Introducing higher ethanol blends, such as E15 and E85, requires customer education to build demand for American-made ethanol. It is critically important to help retailers introduce higher ethanol blends to their customers to boost public awareness and understanding. ICPB supports retailer grand openings to educate consumers and drive traffic to new retail locations.

• The Retailer Outreach Program has been in place over six years and has resulted in many new retail locations offering E15 to E85. The program makes consumers aware of state and federal grant programs, and encourages retailers to higher ethanol blends by presenting the benefits of offering customers more fuel choices and the impact to their bottom line.

The ICGA has provided cost-share dollars in partnership with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association for the past four program years.

• This year marked the 10-year anniversary of the Iowa Corn 300 which took place in July. The race has educated millions of consumers on the power and performance of ethanol.

• The ICGA will partner with Iowa RFA on the Pink at the Pump campaign with 29 participating retailers to promote cleaner burning E15 at the pump in October 2016.

• Iowa Corn works with retailers to reach flex-fuel vehicle owners through mailings to share the benefits of E85.

• Iowa corn farmers are invested in the American Ethanol program with Growth Energy and National Corn Growers Association in partnership with NASCAR to promote the power and performance of Sunoco Green E15.

Ethanol exports

The United States is an abundant producer of ethanol and is ready and willing to meet foreign market needs. The U.S. Grains Council in partnership with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service is working with partners in the United States and globally to help develop markets and enable trade for this renewable, clean-burning fuel. 

The 2014/2015 marketing years saw the second largest quantity of U.S. ethanol shipped overseas, with sales of more than 870 million gallons (3.2 billion liters) of U.S. ethanol to global customers. The U.S. Grains Council is focusing efforts on Mexico, China, India and Japan as key markets for cleaner burning U.S. ethanol.

DDGs increasingly popular

When we talk about ethanol, we can’t forget that all of that corn that goes into an ethanol plant doesn’t just come out as fuel but one-third of the corn comes back out as dry distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). Iowa also leads the country in DDGS production. DDGS are an increasingly popular livestock feed here in the United States and around the world.

Article courtesy of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.