Renewable Fuels Impact on the Iowa Economy

Contribution of the Renewable Fuels Industry to the Economy of Iowa

By John Urbanchuk, Managing Partner, ABF Economics

February 2, 2021

 Prepared for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association

Producing 3.7 billion gallons of ethanol and 351 million gallons of biodiesel in 2020, Iowa continues to be the nation’s leader in biofuels production and biofuels continue to have a significant impact on Iowa’s economy. However, with market challenges leading to a reduction in ethanol production for the second year in a row, those economic benefits were also reduced. Building robust demand in Iowa and other Midwestern states can unlock untapped biofuel plant capacity and economic benefit.

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Biofuels Positive Impact on Iowa Economy Remains Strong

Based on its size and scope, the renewable fuels industry has the following impacts on Iowa’s economy:

  • Accounts for nearly $4 billion, or about 2 percent, of Iowa GDP;
  • Generates $1.8 billion of income for Iowa households; and
  • Supports more than 37,000 jobs through the entire Iowa economy.

(in Millions)


(in Millions)

Household Earnings

(in Millions)



Ethanol* $5,912 $3,372 $1,579 32,633
Biodiesel $1,013 $587 $254 4,449
Total $6,925 $3,959 $1,833 37,083

*Includes agriculture, investment in R&D, and exports