Policy, Energy, and Other Related Issues

Agricultural Act of 2014: Highlights and Implications

This report provides highlights and summaries of important new programs and provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill, as well as some economic implications of the new farm legislation based on ERS expertise in relevant policy areas.

"High RIN Prices Signal Constraints to U.S. Ethanol Expansion"

Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are codes assigned to batches of renewable fuel and are used in the administration of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), an energy law that specifies minimum annual levels of biofuel consumption in the United States. Obligated parties under the RFS use RINs to report qualifying biofuel use to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to demonstrate compliance with their annual RFS requirements. After many years of relatively low prices for conventional ethanol RINs, those prices have recently risen sharply. That imbalance reflects underlying conditions in the U.S. ethanol market, where RFS ethanol mandates now exceed ethanol use (due to declining gasoline use and effects of the E10 blend wall) combined with an upcoming imbalance between the supply of RINs and the demand for RINs for RFS compliance as excess RINs from prior years are depleted. Additional factors that may be affecting RIN prices include uncertainties regarding potential regulatory and legislative actions. Corn used to produce ethanol rises moderately in 2013/14 from the prior year’s drought-reduced level (April 2013, see link below).

The Renewable Identification Number System and U.S. Biofuel Mandates

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) sets annual mandates for renewable transportation fuels sold or introduced into commerce in the United States. The current RFS sets mandates through 2022. The Renewable Identification Number (RIN) system was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to facilitate compliance with the RFS. A RIN is a 38-character numeric code that corresponds to a volume of renewable fuel produced in or imported into the United States. RINs remain with the renewable fuel through the distribution system and ownership changes. Once the renewable fuel is blended into a motor vehicle fuel, the RIN is no longer required to remain with the renewable fuel. Instead, the RIN may then be separated from the renewable fuel and used for RFS compliance, held for future compliance, or traded. The RFS mandates are prorated down to “obligated parties”—individual gasoline and diesel producers and/ or importers—based on their annual production and/or imports. Each year, obligated parties are required to meet their prorated share of the RFS mandates by accumulating RINs, either through fuel blending or by purchasing RINs from others. Understanding the RIN system and the prices for RINs when bought and sold can provide key insights into the impact of mandates on biofuel and feedstock markets (November 2011).

Measuring the Indirect Land-Use Change Associated With Increased Biofuel Feedstock Production: A Review of Modeling Efforts: Report to Congress

This report summarizes the current state of knowledge of the drivers of land-use change and describes the analytic methods used to estimate the impact of biofuel feedstock production on land use (February 2011).

The Influence of Rising Commodity Prices on the Conservation Reserve Program

This report considers how increased commodity prices might influence enrollment in and benefits from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Under several higher crop price scenarios, including one that incorporates 15 billion gallons of crop-based biofuels production, maintaining the CRP as currently configured will lead to significant increases in program costs (February 2011).

Market Issues and Prospects for U.S. Distillers' Grains Supply, Use, and Price Relationships

Growth in corn dry-mill ethanol production has surged in the past several years, simultaneously creating a coproduct—distillers’ dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Many in the U.S. feed industry were concerned about the size of this new feed source and whether it could be used entirely by the feed industry, but they also worried about the price discovery process for the product. This report provides a transparent methodology to estimate U.S. supply and consumption of DDGS. Potential domestic and export use of U.S. DDGS exceeds current production and is likely to exceed future production as ethanol production continues to grow. The report identifies the DDGS price discovery process along with the price relationships of distillers’ grains, corn, and soybean meal (December 2010).

Next-Generation Biofuels: Near-Term Challenges and Implications for Agriculture

This report assesses the short-term outlook for production of next-generation biofuels and the near-term challenges facing the sector. Next-generation U.S. biofuel capacity should reach about 88 million gallons in 2010, thanks in large measure to one plant becoming commercially operational in 2010, using noncellulosic animal fat to produce green diesel. U.S. production capacity for cellulosic biofuels is estimated to be 10 million gallons for 2010, much less than the 100 million gallons originally mandated by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Near-term challenges for the sector include reducing high capital and production costs, acquiring financial resources for precommercial development, developing new biomass supply arrangements, many of which will be with U.S. farmers, and overcoming the constraints of ethanol’s current 10-percent blending limit with gasoline (May 2010).

Effects of Increased Biofuels on the U.S. Economy in 2022

Achieving greater energy security by reducing dependence on foreign petroleum is a goal of U.S. energy policy. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) calls for a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS-2), which mandates that the United States increase the volume of biofuel that is blended into transportation fuel from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Long-term technological advances are needed to meet this mandate. This report examines how meeting the RFS-2 would affect various key components of the U.S. economy. If biofuel production advances with cost-reducing technology and petroleum prices continue to rise as projected, the RFS-2 could provide economy-wide benefits. However, the actual level of benefits (or costs) to the U.S. economy depends importantly on future oil prices and whether tax credits are retained in 2022. If oil prices stabilized or declined from current levels and tax credits were retained, then benefits to the economy would diminish (October 2010).

2008 Energy Balance for the Corn-Ethanol Industry

The Agricultural Resource Management Survey of corn growers for the year 2005 and the 2008 survey of dry mill ethanol plants are used to estimate the net energy balance of corn ethanol. This report measures all conventional fossil fuel energy used in the production of 1 gallon of corn ethanol (June 2010, see link below).

Ethanol and a Changing Agricultural Landscape

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 established specific targets for the production of biofuels in the United States. This report summarizes the estimated effects of meeting the EISA targets for 2015 on regional agricultural production and the environment (November 2009).

"Full Throttle U.S. Ethanol Expansion Faces Challenges Down the Road"

EISA of 2007 specified an ambitious agenda to significantly expand biofuel use in the United States, with an increased emphasis on "second generation" cellulosic biofuel. However, challenges in both supply and demand—ranging from the development of new cellulosic biofuel production technologies to the development of supporting infrastructures at every step along the way from the field to the pump—may limit future growth in the industry (Amber Waves, September 2009).

"Growing Crops for Biofuels Has Spillover Effects"

Federal mandates for biofuel production promote expanded crop acreage and shifts in cropping patterns and livestock production because of higher prices for corn and other grain crops. Research that improves crop productivity and conversion efficiency, as well as conservation practices like no-till and buffer strips, could lessen the environmental impacts of biofuels (Amber Waves, March 2009).

Increasing Feedstock Production for Biofuels: Economic Drivers, Environmental Implications, and the Role of Research

The implications of increased demand for feedstocks to meet the Nation's biofuels goals are uncertain. Questions include what types of feedstocks will be used? at what prices? grown where? and with what implications for greenhouse gases and sustainability? A report released by the interagency Biomass Research and Development Board addresses these issues, including analysis of scenarios for specific biofuel targets with alternative assumptions about key variables like crop productivity and input prices (December 2008).

The Economics of Biomass Feedstocks in the United States: A Review of the Literature

A review of economic studies available through the end of 2007 intended to support further economic research on expanding the production of renewable fuels (October 2008).

2008 Farm Bill Side-By-Side

A title-by-title summary of key provisions of the 2008 Act in a side-by-side comparison with previous legislation. The side-by-side includes links to related ERS publications and to analyses of previous farm acts. New features include a user's guide, an A-Z list of major provisions, and a search function (August 2008).

Ethanol Transportation Backgrounder

An overview of transportation issues facing a rapidly expanding U.S. ethanol industry in the context of the U.S. corn market from USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (September 2007).

USDA 2007 Farm Bill Theme Paper: Energy and Agriculture

This paper describes the role of U.S. agriculture in energy production and efforts to conserve energy use in agriculture; discusses and evaluates energy programs administered by USDA; and concludes with a discussion of general policy approaches associated with energy and agriculture (August 2006).

"Agriculture and Rural Communities Are Resilient to High Energy Costs"

Rising energy prices may prompt farmers and rural residents to make tradeoffs in their production practices and daily lives. Farmers may be induced to adopt farming practices that use less energy. Transportation costs are higher for rural residents, while heating costs are roughly the same for rural and urban residents (Amber Waves, April 2006).

Biodiesel Development: New Markets for Conventional and Genetically Modified Agricultural Products

With environmental and energy source concerns on the rise, using agricultural fats and oils as fuel in diesel engines has captured increasing attention. Substituting petroleum diesel with biodiesel may reduce air emissions, increase the domestic supply of fuel, and create new markets for farmers (September 1998).

Industrial Uses of Agricultural Materials

Agricultural producers provide industry with raw materials for a vast array of nonfood industrial and consumer products. The seven reports provide economic and market context for new and ongoing industrial uses of agricultural materials, such as ethanol and biodiesel (1993-97).

Estimating the Net Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol

Variations in data and assumptions used among studies estimating the net energy value of corn ethanol have resulted in a wide range of estimates. This report identifies the factors causing the variation and develops a more consistent estimate. The net energy value of corn ethanol has become positive in recent years because of technological advances in ethanol conversion and increased efficiency in farm production (July 1995).

Biofuels and Agricultural Commodity Markets

Feed Outlook

This monthly report examines supply, use, prices, and trade for feed grains, with a focus on corn. New information on corn used for ethanol production is covered in the text as well as in Table 5 (Corn: Food and industrial uses).

Oil Crops Outlook

This monthly report analyzes recent trends and emerging developments for the U.S. and international vegetable oils markets. For the production of biodiesel, these oils provide the primary feedstock and are its main cost. Thus, market information on vegetable oil supply and demand is vital for the production economics of this rapidly growing biofuel.

USDA Agricultural Projections to 2022

This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2022. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices (February 2013).

"Long-Term Prospects for Agriculture Reflect Growing Demand for Food, Fiber, and Fuel"

A number of developments in the agricultural sector have put upward pressure on farm-commodity prices over the past decade. These include growing food demand in developing countries, rising biofuel demand, and slowing yield growth for grains and oilseeds. According to USDA's annual baseline projections, these and other factors will continue to influence prospects for U.S. and world agriculture over the next decade (Amber Waves, September 2012).

Estimating the Substitution of Distillers' Grains for Corn and Soybean Meal in the U.S. Feed Complex

Production of corn-based dry-mill ethanol and its coproducts—notably, distillers’ dried grains with solubles (DDGS)—has surged in recent years. The report estimates the potential substitution of DDGS for corn and soybean meal in livestock feeding and the impact of substitution on the U.S. feed complex (October 2011).

The Ethanol Decade: An Expansion of U.S. Corn Production, 2000-09

The recent increase in corn-based ethanol production provides evidence of how farmers altered their land-use decisions in response to increased demand for corn. As some forecasts had suggested, corn acreage increased mostly on farms that previously specialized in soybeans. Other farms, however, offset this shift by expanding soybean production. Farm-level data reveal that the simultaneous net expansion of corn and soybean acreage resulted from a reduction in cotton acreage, a shift from uncultivated hay to cropland, and the expansion of double cropping.

Market Issues and Prospects for U.S. Distillers' Grains Supply, Use, and Price Relationships

Growth in corn dry-mill ethanol production has surged in the past several years, simultaneously creating a co-product-distillers' grains (DDGS). Many in the U.S. feed industry were concerned about the size of this new feed source and whether it could be used entirely by the feed industry, but they also worried about the price discovery process for the product. The authors of this report provide a transparent methodology to estimate U.S. supply and consumption of DDGS. Potential domestic and export use of U.S. DDGS exceeds current production and is likely to exceed future production as ethanol production continues to grow. The authors identify the DDGS price discovery process, along with the price relationships of distillers' grains, corn, and soybean meal (December 2010).

Next-Generation Biofuels: Near-Term Challenges and Implications for Agriculture

This report assesses the short-term outlook for production of next-generation biofuels and the near-term challenges facing the sector (May 2010). See related Amber Waves feature, "Next-Generation Biofuels: Near-Term Challenges and Implications for Agriculture" (June 2010).

"Ethanol Co-Product Use in U.S. Cattle Feeding: Lessons Learned and Considerations"

This outlook report (see link below) examines evolution of ethanol-industry byproducts to "co-products" that have market value separate from primary products. Co-products such as dried distiller's grains, corn gluten feed, corn gluten meal, corn oil, and brewer's grains have become economically viable components, along with traditional ingredients such as corn, soybean meal, and urea in feed rations (April 2009).

"Grain Prices Impact Entire Livestock Production Cycle"

Changes in U.S. livestock-industry structure and the use of alternative feeds, such as byproducts from ethanol production, will help reduce the impact of higher input costs on livestock producers (Amber Waves, March 2009).

Ethanol Expansion in the United States: How Will the Agricultural Sector Adjust?

Corn is currently the primary feedstock for ethanol in the United States. Market impacts of the expansion in ethanol production extend well beyond the corn sector to supply and demand for other crops, such as soybeans and cotton, as well as to U.S. livestock industries. As a consequence of these commodity market impacts, farm income, government payments, and food prices also change (May 2007). See related Amber Waves feature "U.S. Ethanol Expansion Driving Changes Throughout the Agricultural Sector" (September 2007).

An Analysis of the Effects of an Expansion in Biofuel Demand on U.S. Agriculture

This analysis assesses the effects on agriculture of further expansion of biofuels production than that in USDA's February 2007 long-term projections and reviews the potential for cellulosic ethanol production. Two scenarios were developed to evaluate the effects of biofuel production on crop markets, national and regional livestock markets, farm income, and the environment for crop years 2007-16 (May 2007).

"Ethanol Reshapes the Corn Market"

Work is underway to add billions of gallons to the annual production capacity of the fuel ethyl alcohol market. Expanded ethanol production in the United States has helped to reduce corn ending stocks and boost corn prices (Amber Waves, April 2006).

Feed Grains Backgrounder

The rapidly expanding use of corn by the ethanol industry is raising issues throughout U.S. agriculture, including the implications of using grain for fuel instead of for food or feed and the adequacy of future grain supplies. This report addresses key market and policy developments that have affected the U.S. feed grains sector in recent years. During the ongoing farm policy debate, the U.S. feed grain sector faces uncertainty about the future level and type of government support (March 2007). For the related Amber Waves finding, see "Ethanol Reduces Government Support for U.S. Feed Grain Sector" (April 2007).

Soybean Backgrounder

Key domestic and international market and policy developments have affected the U.S. soybean sector in recent years. The report also covers the development of nontraditional soybean uses such as biodiesel, which is becoming an important new source of demand for soybean oil (April 2006). For the related Amber Waves finding, see "International Trade, Biofuel Initiatives Reshaping the Soybean Sector" (September 2006).

Agricultural Baseline Projections: Current and Previous Baseline Projections

The USDA baseline report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. Energy and bioenergy issues and impacts are discussed in various sections of the report (annually in February).

Global Biofuels

China's Market for Distillers Dried Grains and the Key Influences on Its Longer Run Potential

The expansion of corn-based ethanol production in the United States yields a large volume of residual coproducts called distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Most DDGS are used in the domestic U.S. market, but Chinese importers seeking raw materials for animal feed have emerged as a significant export market. High feed prices and favorable tax treatment within China stimulated a surge of imports of U.S. DDGS during 2009-11. China’s potential demand for U.S. DDGS depends on such factors as the price of corn, Chinese trade policy, and the availability and price of other substitute feed ingredients, such as the byproducts of grain processing in China (residual products from alcohol production). Demand is robust, but slower growth in the U.S. supply of DDGS and uncertainties about Chinese policy may constrain growth in exports to China (August 2012).

Brazil's Ethanol Industry: Looking Forward

Brazil is a major supplier of ethanol to the world market, the result of its natural advantage in producing sugarcane, productivity increases, and policies stimulating the supply of feedstock and of sugar-based ethanol. Global demand for ethanol and other bio-based fuels is expected to grow in response to mandates for increased use of renewable fuels around the world. Brazil will be well positioned to fill the growing world demand for ethanol. However, Brazil’s ability to supply the export market depends on its domestic ethanol use mandate, world sugar and oil prices, the currency exchange rate, and the infrastructure to move ethanol to ports. Brazil is challenged with sustaining production growth in the ethanol sector so as to meet increasing domestic demand and, at the same time, maintain its position as a major supplier of ethanol to world markets that are growing rapidly in response to their own ambitious targets for renewable energy use (June 2011).

"China Is Using More Corn for Industrial Products"

Use of corn to make starch, sweeteners, ethyl alcohol, and other industrial products has accounted for most of the growth in China's corn use over the past decade. Despite the surge in industrial use, China still has a surplus of corn. The country's exports of corn-based industrial products have grown as exports of unprocessed corn receded. Industrial processing was encouraged by government policy early in the decade. Industrial processors in China benefited from policies that kept domestic corn prices from rising in 2007/08, but many experienced losses in 2008/09 when demand slowed and the government supported corn prices (December 2009, see link below).

Colombia: A New Ethanol Producer on the Rise?

Colombia's sugarcane-based ethanol industry, after operating for only 3 years, is the second most developed in the Western Hemisphere. Colombia's sugarcane-based ethanol production is increasing; proposed expansion projects have the potential to more than triple daily production from 277,000 gallons in 2007 to almost 1 million gallons in 2010 (January 2009).

"The Future of Biofuels: A Global Perspective"

Global biofuel production tripled between 2000 and 2007, but still accounts for less than 3 percent of the transportation fuel supply worldwide. Biofuels will likely be part of a portfolio of solutions to high energy prices, including conservation, more efficient energy use, and use of other alternative fuels (Amber Waves, November 2007).

"Brazil's Booming Agriculture Faces Obstacles"

Brazil has emerged as an important player in global food and agricultural markets. Brazil's sugarcane and associated sugar and ethanol industries have grown rapidly in the last 5 years, and the country has become the world's largest exporter of sugar and ethanol (Amber Waves, November 2006).

Biofuels and Food Prices

Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuel Industries Worldwide

Meeting growing global demand for food, fiber, and biofuel requires robust investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) from both public and private sectors. This study examines global R&D spending by private industry in seven agricultural input sectors, food manufacturing, and biofuel and describes the changing structure of these industries. In 2007 (the latest year for which comprehensive estimates are available), the private sector spent $19.7 billion on food and agricultural research (56 percent in food manufacturing and 44 percent in agricultural input sectors) and accounted for about half of total public and private spending on food and agricultural R&D in high-income countries. In R&D related to biofuel, annual private-sector investments are estimated to have reached $1.47 billion worldwide by 2009. Incentives to invest in R&D are influenced by market structure and other factors. Agricultural input industries have undergone significant structural change over the past two decades, with industry concentration on the rise. A relatively small number of large, multinational firms with global R&D and marketing networks account for most R&D in each input industry. Rising market concentration has not generally been associated with increased R&D investment as a percentage of industry sales (December 2011).

"Agricultural Commodity Price Spikes in the 1970s and 1990s: Valuable Lessons for Today"

This report examines the recent runup in commodity prices in light of similar occurrences in 1971-74 and 1994-96. Although similar to those earlier price runups, rising demand for grains and oilseeds for biofuels adds a new dimension of complexity (Amber Waves, March 2009).

Rising Food Prices

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food has been rising at an accelerated rate in 2007 and 2008, a trend that is expected to continue into the first half of 2009. Higher commodity and energy costs are responsible for higher retail prices. The main factors behind higher food commodity costs include stronger global demand for food, increased U.S. agricultural exports resulting from stronger demand and a weaker dollar, weather-related production problems in some areas of the world, and the increased use of some food commodities, such as corn, for bioenergy uses (September 2008, requires Windows Media Player).

"Fluctuating Food Commodity Prices: A Complex Issue With No Easy Answers"

This report explores the many factors that contributed to the rapid escalation of food commodity prices through mid-2008 (Amber Waves, November 2008). For the full report, see Global Agricultural Supply and Demand: Factors Contributing to the Recent Increase in Food Commodity Prices (July 2008, link below).

"Rising Food Prices Intensify Food Insecurity in Developing Countries"

The use of food crops for biofuels, coupled with greater food demand, has reversed the path of declining price trends for several commodities. For highly import-dependent or highly food-insecure countries, any decline in import capacity stemming from rising food prices can have challenging food security implications. Food aid, a key safety net source, has stagnated during the last two decades, and its share has declined relative to total food imports of low-income countries (Amber Waves,February 2008).

"Corn Prices Near Record High, But What About Food Costs?"

This Amber Waves article traces the effect of higher corn prices on U.S. retail food prices by analyzing data on price trends from 1987-2007 and the price responsiveness of corn-dependent food to cost changes. The results indicate ethanol's impact on retail food prices depends on how long the increased demand for corn raises farm corn prices and the extent to which higher corn prices are passed on to retail (February 2008).

Rising Food Prices

Retail food price inflation has accelerated in 2007 as higher commodity and energy prices have begun to work their way through the food price system. This short USDA news video focuses on the main factors affecting retail food price inflation and gives insight into what is likely to occur for the rest of the year (June 2007, requires Windows Media Player).

"Ethyl Alcohol Becomes a Global Commodity"

Most ethyl alcohol used in the United States is produced domestically. However, sharp increases in U.S. ethanol use in 2004 pushed prices high enough to stimulate imports, despite duties matching the blender tax received by U.S. producers of alcohol used for fuel (Amber Waves, April 2005).

Related Links

Data and information about markets for bioenergy and other renewable energy sources are available from a variety of U.S. and international organizations. Readers should be aware that, because of different methods of calculation (e.g., levels of aggregation) and different origins, these sources of data will not always be consistent with one another.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

USDA Renewable Energy contains news and information about USDA's renewable energy activities.

National Institute for Food and Agriculture, Small Business Innovation Research: Biofuels and Biobased Products. This grant program's objective is to promote the use of biofuels and non-food biobased products by developing new or improved technologies that will lead to increased production of industrial products from agricultural materials.

USDA Energy Matrix is a navigational aid to identify USDA's energy-related programs that extend across the many USDA agencies and mission areas.

Office of Energy Policy and New Uses is the USDA office responsible for developing and coordinating Departmental energy policy, programs, and strategies.

Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) works to improve foreign market access for U.S. products, build new markets, and improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace.

  • Biofuels Analysis contains data, country-specific reports, and links related to biofuels.
  • Agricultural Attaché Reports include background information as well as data. The website is searchable by commodity, country, and year. Corn is found under "Grain and Feed."
  • EU-27 Biofuels Annual examines targets set by the EU for biofuel consumption

Agricultural Research Service's National Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives Program provides assistance to overcome technical and commercial barriers associated with bioenergy production.

National Agricultural Library

Business and Cooperative Programs promote a dynamic business environment in rural America.

Natural Resources Conservation Service's Energy Consumption Awareness Tools are four online energy estimators (animal housing, irrigation, nitrogen, and tillage) to help farmers, ranchers, and agricultural suppliers identify areas for energy reductions and potential cost savings.

Data From Other U.S. Agencies Or Departments

Biofuel itself is treated as a non-farm product, and data collection for its supply, production, and distribution is led by several U.S. agencies and departments.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

  • Bioenergy has DOE's introduction to bioenergy information.
  • Energy Information Administration contains official energy statistics from DOE and provides historical energy data, forecasts and analyses, and long-term energy outlook.
  • Ethanol has information, data, and analysis related to ethanol.
  • Renewable and Alternative Fuels Basics provides renewable energy and alternative fuels data and other links.
  • Short-Term Energy Outlook gives monthly projections for U.S. domestic petroleum, natural gas, electricity, and coal supply, demand, and prices.
  • Long-Term Energy Outlook has annual projections and analysis of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices through 2030.
  • Annual Energy Review contains historical annual energy statistics. Section 10 is Renewable Energy. The "Fuel Ethanol and Biodiesel Overview" is Section 10.3.
  • Petroleum Navigator, Oxygenate Production, has annual and monthly data for production of fuel ethanol and MTBE for the United States and five regions. Historical data available back to 1992.
  • Forecasts and Analyses has analyses and projections of energy information, renewable energy, and energy feedstock forecasts.
  • Annual Energy Outlook gives long-term projections of renewable energy consumption (including ethanol) by sector.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is responsible for renewable energy research and technology development.

USDA and DOE Partnership on Energy

Biomass Research and Development Initiative was created by Congress in the Biomass Research and Development Act to establish greater cooperation between Federal agencies in biomass research and development.

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy. Partnership between USDA and DOE to advance research on renewable energy.

U.S. Department of Transportation

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics. Quarterly statistics on the U.S. transportation system.

U.S. Department of Commerce

U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract, Energy and Utilities includes a variety of data on conventional and renewable energy.

The International Trade Administration, Energy Industries Team helps analyze and improve global trade and economic competitiveness of U.S. energy technology firms.

  • The 2010 Energy Industry Assessmenthighlights the U.S. and international energy industry, with a focus on global competitiveness, U.S. energy supply and demand, domestic environment, regulatory issues, non-regulatory issues, and the international trading environment. The specific energy sectors profiled in the document include oil, gas, coal, nuclear, biofuels, electricity transmission and distribution, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Regional Affairs Division responsible for the Bank's regional research efforts.

Trade Data and International Organizations

USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service's (FAS) Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS) provides a searchable database that provides monthly or annual import and export data for ethyl alcohol for nonbeverage purposes by country.

DOE, Energy Information Administration's International Energy Data and Analysis has data, reports, and forecasts on petroleum, natural gas, electricity and coal markets.

DOE, EIA, Petroleum Publications' Company-Level Imports gives data on petroleum products, including ethanol, imported by companies into the United States.

U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb has international trade data for 1989 to the present on a monthly, quarterly, annual, or year-to-date basis.

United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization

FAOSTAT has production and trade data for corn and soybeans.

World Bank's World Development Reports include research on the impacts of biofuels.

International Energy Agency, Statistics, Renewables has aggregate renewable energy production and consumption statistics by country. You can specify the country or region of interest in the pull-down menus. Aggregated data are reported for "primary solid biomass" and "liquid biofuels," among other categories.

European Commission, Eurostat, Energy Statistics gives annual data on energy quantities, prices, and indicators for crude oil, oil products, natural gas, electricity, solid fuels, and renewables covering the full spectrum of the energy balance positions from supply through transformation to final energy consumption by sector and fuel type. See the Environment and Energy section of the database.

University and Commercial Sources of Market Information

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Partially funded by USDA Rural Development, a university-sponsored site that offers fact sheets, economic analysis, and other educational materials on renewable energy, such as ethanol, biodiesel, and biofuel feedstocks.

Sun Grant BioWeb represents the Sun Grant Initiative, which is a federally funded initiative among universities and Federal laboratories to coordinate research efforts related to a "biobased economy." The initiative comprises representatives from five Regional Centers, including many universities. Click on the regional center of interest to learn more about participating institutions and the data they offer.

CME Group Energy Products has current and historical ethanol prices, as well as the Ethanol Outlook Report, which contains information regarding ethanol trading.

Renewable Fuels Association has information on U.S. and global ethanol production, U.S. ethanol capacity, plant locations, and other indicators.

National Biodiesel Board has articles and reports on biodiesel-related topics, including estimates of U.S. biodiesel operating capacity and use.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) is funded by DOE and hosted by North Carolina State University, a comprehensive source of information on State, local, utility, and Federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in the United States.

University of Arkansas, National Agricultural Law Center's collection of Congressional Research Service reports contains a section on Energy.