Iowa ethanol fuels cars in 44 states across the U.S., according to an analysis of ethanol rail shipment data and an ethanol flow analysis conducted by Decision Innovation Solutions.

Rail shipping data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicates 1.91 billion gallons of Iowa ethanol moved out of state by rail in 2021. In total, either through direct rail shipments, trans-shipments through Chicago, or truck shipments, 4.4 billion gallons of Iowa ethanol is estimated to be used in 1,364 counties across the U.S. 

Directly, Illinois is the destination for the largest amount of ethanol from Iowa. More than 1.7 billion gallons of Iowa ethanol is shipped to Illinois, but approximately 1.27 billion gallons of that is trans-shipped from Illinois to locations around the country.

Including the reallocation of the ethanol that is trans-shipped through the Chicago area, Texas is the number one destination of Iowa ethanol. Significant quantities of the ethanol shipped to Texas goes to export markets through the ports near Houston and Galveston that handle fuels. 

The other top destinations for Iowa ethanol are Illinois with a net receipt of 459 million gallons (after reallocation of the trans-shipped gallons), California with 434 million gallons (which includes exports through California ports), New Jersey with 262 million gallons, New York with 231 million gallons, Georgia with 184 million gallons, Iowa with 182 million gallons, Pennsylvania with 175 million gallons and Arizona with 148 million.

Harris County, Texas, is the single largest destination for Iowa ethanol with more than half a million gallons going there – much of it being loaded on ships for export. Cook County, Illinois, is the second largest destination for Iowa ethanol and the largest domestic-use market for Iowa ethanol. The largest market for Iowa ethanol in Iowa is Polk County.