Consumption of bioethanol in the EU is increasing in 2021 and 2022 following the gradual removal of the COVID-related lockdowns, according to the EU Biofuels Annual Report prepared for the US Department of Agriculture‘s (USDA) Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN).

Last year, bioethanol consumption is estimated to have increased by 5.5% to 5.44 billion litres, exceeding the pre-COVID level of 2019 to mark a new record. As surging gasoline prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have enhanced the competitiveness of bioethanol, its consumption is forecast to increase by a further 2.3% in 2022 to 5.57 billion litres. Demand growth is led by France, where E85 usage is supported by a growing number of flex-fuel cars.

Driven by recovering consumption, and also new capacity, the production of bioethanol in the EU is expected to have expanded to a new record of 5.19 billion litres in 2021 and to go up to 5.35 billion litres in 2022. The highest increases are anticipated in France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.

The report also says the use of sugar beets as feedstock is set to increase as cereals, mainly wheat, are prioritised for food or feed.