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Ethanol, biodiesel added to rail report: Expanded reporting started April 4

WASHINGTON -- As of Monday, the federal government's Petroleum Supply Monthly report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration included more frequent data on ethanol and biodiesel transported by railroads.

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Ryan Thorpe is chief operating officer for Tharaldson Ethanol of Casselton, N.D. Mikkel Pates/AgWeek/Forum News Service

WASHINGTON - As of Monday, the federal government’s Petroleum Supply Monthly report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration included more frequent data on ethanol and biodiesel transported by railroads.

The EIA now reports monthly rail movements for crude oil, ethanol and biodiesel. The March report, with data starting in January, is posted on EIA’s website.
Adding movements of ethanol and biodiesel by rail to existing movements with Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts by pipelines, tankers and barges provides more complete data on inter-PADD movements of biofuels.
In addition, incorporating ethanol and biodiesel movements into regional volumetric balances also improves supply estimates for finished motor gasoline and distillate fuel oil.
Ryan Thorpe, chief operating officer for Tharaldson Ethanol at Casselton, N.D., and a member of the North Dakota Ethanol Council, says having more frequent reporting will “absolutely” be a benefit to the industry.
“Now that we’re producing over 15 billion gallons per year, it’s nice to more accurately track what is used domestically and what is exported out of the country,” Thorpe says. Current ethanol profit margins are “compressed,” but Thorpe emphasizes it is “short-term pain for a long-term gain.” He says it’s tough to export ethanol because the price of gasoline has declined, but he notes that February saw record gasoline usage in the U.S., exceeding that month’s record from 2007.
“It’s nice to see that with lower gas prices people are driving more, traveling more,” Thorpe says.

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