It's not just a U.S. phenomenon, ethanol production is growing across the world. Global ethanol production will reach 22.7 billion gallons in 2010. That would be a 16.2 percent increase from 2009’s level, according to the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance.

GRFA made its growth predictions this week, and said that ethanol production this year will displace the need for 370 million equivalent barrels of oil worldwide. GRFA is an international federation representing more than 65 percent of the world's renewable fuels production from 30 countries.

The United States remains the world's leading ethanol producer, with 12 billion gallons projected for this year. That compares with 2009’s production of 10.75 billion gallons as cited by the Renewable Fuels Association.

Developing countries such as Nigeria and Malawi are embracing ethanol production as a way to boost their economies and secure future energy needs.

"Countries around the world are working to secure their future energy needs by expanding the production and use of domestic renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel,” says Bliss Baker, GRFA spokesperson. “Renewable fuels production is reducing the need for oil imports in many countries while working to keep crude oil prices down overall."

Source: GRFA,