There were 81 ethanol plants in the US in January 2005 , there are now 129 and more are being constructed although some plants are being delayed or cancelled.
Ethanol is corrosive and volatile and it also absorbs water and impurities, it can't be pumped through pipelines and must be caried by road or rail in specially designed tanks. It also needs special handling equipment at loading / unloading terminals so Gasoline wholesale and marketers have been slow to gear up ethanol blending terminals. They have also been required to invest simultaneously in equipment to manage low sulfur diesel and tougher product specifications.
Ethanol prices in the US vary by location the average rack, or wholesale, price reported by the DTN Ethanol Center last Tuesday was $2.42 a gallon in New York and $1.77 in Iowa. Generally, prices are highest in states farthest away from the Midwest farm belt and in ones that have federal or state clean-air requirements that encourage the use of ethanol.
On top of this there is a massive and growing backlog in rail tank car orders that grew to 36,166 rail cars by the end of the first quarter in 2007 from about 10,000 in the third quarter of 2005.
Imports of ethanol up 44% in US in July
The US imported 1.526 million bbl of ethanol in July, up a sharp 674,000 bbl or 44.2 percent from the previous month,(source Energy Information Administration).
The EIA shows 1.227 million bbl of ethanol was received by ports along the East Coast in July, up 470,000 bbl from June. Ports on the West Coast received 220,000 bbl of ethanol, up 126,000 bbl from month prior. July ethanol imports to the Midwest rose 1,000 bbl to 2,000 bbl.