Iowa’s Economy Benefited as Biofuel Production Rebounded in 2021

Ethanol Production Hits Record; Biodiesel Production Stays Strong

Contact: Cassidy Walter

JOHNSTON, IA – A new study released today finds rebounding biofuels production in 2021 provided a strong boost to Iowa’s economy.

The study, authored by John Urbanchuk of ABF Economics and commissioned by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), found the production of ethanol and biodiesel accounts for over $5 billion in state GDP, supports nearly 46,000 jobs throughout the economy, and boosts Iowa household income by more than $2.6 billion. All three metrics are up since 2020’s COVID downturn.

“Rebounding biofuels production combined with higher commodity values really boosted Iowa’s economy in 2021, especially in rural communities,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “And what’s really exciting is that so much more is ahead of us. This is why increasing consumer access to higher blends through the Governor’s Biofuels Access Bill is so vital. When Iowans have access to biofuels, they choose biofuels. They save money and support Iowa’s economy. It’s a win-win for all.”

In 2021 Iowa ethanol production hit an all-time record high of 4.4 billion gallons while biodiesel production decreased only slightly to 340 million gallons in response to market and supply-chain challenges.

“Continued growth and expansion of the renewable fuels industry through new technologies and feedstocks will enhance the industry’s position as the original creator of green jobs and will ensure America’s ability to maintain and expand energy independence,” the study concluded. “Further, policy and regulatory actions taken by Iowa, and other Midwestern states, to boost the use of biofuels locally, particularly statewide use of E15, will provide a buffer from the uncertainty of federal policy and export demand.”

To view the full study, click here.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association represents the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry and works to foster its growth. Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production with 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing 4.5 billion gallons annually – including 34 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity – and 11 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce 410 million gallons annually. For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website at: