Study: Ethanol Industry Generated $54 Billion in GDP, Supported 400,000 Jobs in 2023

As inflationary pressures eased and demand boomed for low-carbon ethanol and its co-products, the ethanol industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy remained strong in 2023, according to an annual economic impact analysis conducted for the Renewable Fuels Association by ABF Economics.

In 2023, more than 72,400 U.S. jobs were directly associated with the ethanol industry, with an additional 322,000 indirect and induced jobs supported across all sectors of the economy. The industry created $32.5 billion in household income and contributed just over $54.2 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product—the second-highest GDP contribution ever. As a result, an estimated $10.4 billion in tax revenue was generated for federal, state and local governments. Returns over operating costs averaged an estimated $0.47 per gallon, almost doubling the average operating margin from 2022, according to the report.

“The U.S. ethanol industry is proud of the enormous contribution it makes to our nation’s economic vitality and environmental well-being,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “After dealing with surging inflation and a global energy crisis in 2022, the ethanol industry saw far more stability in 2023—both in the marketplace and across the policy and regulatory landscape. As we look ahead to new markets and new opportunities, we know the industry’s positive impact on the economy and environment will only continue to expand.”

The 2023 report also shows that the industry spent nearly $39 billion on raw materials, other inputs, and goods and services to produce ethanol last year, with corn purchases alone accounting for nearly $32 billion. The study also provides a breakdown of the industry’s economic impacts in major ethanol-producing states in 2023. Notably, in Iowa, which accounts for roughly one-quarter of U.S. ethanol capacity, the industry supported over 100,000 jobs.

“The ethanol industry continued to make a significant contribution to the economy in terms of GDP, job creation, generation of tax revenue, and displacement of crude oil and petroleum products in 2023,” the report concludes. “The importance of the ethanol industry to agriculture and rural economies is particularly notable. Growth and expansion of the ethanol industry as it applies new technologies and addresses new markets will enhance the industry’s position as the original creator of green jobs and will enable America to make further strides toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and positively dealing with climate change.”