The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) released data last week that shows the ethanol industry now has the capacity to produce 4 billion gallons annually, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) notes.

The EIA said ethanol production reached 261,000 barrels per day in September, which amounts to 4 billion gallons of ethanol annually if production is maintained at that level for an entire year. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by President George W. Bush in August, requires 4 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be used in 2006.

“The data clearly indicate the ethanol industry will easily go above and beyond the 4-billion-gallon requirement for 2006,” said Geoff Cooper, NCGA director of commercialization and business development. “Ethanol production has increased significantly in the past couple years, and we expect to see this rapid growth continue well into the future.”

Through September, the industry had produced more than 2.8 billion gallons of ethanol. Industry experts estimate the industry will produce more than 3.9 billion gallons in 2005, up 14 percent from 2004.

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