The ethanol industry has had a substantial impact on the economic vitality of rural communities, especially in America’s heartland, where the majority of the nation’s corn ethanol plants are located. Short transportation distances and local investment have led to most ethanol facilities being centrally located in the United States, providing more economic independence and energy security to our country while supporting local jobs.

But the local economic benefits that result from the presence of an ethanol plant aren’t limited just to the Corn Belt—in the past several years ethanol plants have been built in California, Texas, New York, Oregon, Arizona and other places outside of the Midwest. At the end of 2011, the U.S. ethanol industry comprised 209 operating plants in 29 states, with production capacity of 14.7 billion gallons.

Economic impact reports provide a view of how an industry helps create new jobs or support existing ones. They look at how much the industry invested in capital infrastructure or goods and services. And they look at how much the industry paid in taxes. Here’s a summary of the ethanol industry’s economic impact for 2011, as calculated by consulting firm Cardno ENTRIX and reported by the Renewable Fuels Association:

$42.4 billion

How much the combination of spending for annual operations, ethanol transportation, and capital spending for new plants under construction added to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2011.


How many jobs were created or supported due to the economic activity resulting from ongoing production and construction of new capacity in 2011.

$30 billion

How much money the production of ethanol put into the pockets of American consumers in 2011. Increased economic activity and new jobs result in higher levels of income for American households.

$8.2 billion

How much was paid in local, state and federal taxes as a result of increased GDP and higher household income.

485 million

How many barrels of crude oil the United States did not need to import in 2011 because of the production of 13.9 billion gallons of ethanol.

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