As of January 2014, there were 192 U.S. corn ethanol plants operating in the U.S., with capacity to 14.0 billion gallons of ethanol, according to data contained in the Renewable Fuels Association’s annual 2014 Ethanol Industry Outlook and 2014 Pocket Guide to Ethanol. The information was released at the National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Total 2013 ethanol production was estimated at 13.3 billion gallons, up from 2012, but below 2011. There were a total of 210 plants in 28 U.S. states, with capacity of 14.9 billion gallons. Seven plants are under construction of expansion, with additional capacity of 0.2 billion gallons.

“Last year was a tough year for the industry as misguided attacks on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) came from all angles. There is a clear need to educate individuals and policy makers about the goals and successes of the RFS,” explained Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO.

In his annual “State of the Industry” speech, Dineen said 2014 will be the year the “blend wall comes crashing down,” “the cellulose wall is cracked,” “the trade wall erected by Europe will be breached,” and “the octane wall crumbles.”

Tying the remarks back to the theme of “Falling Walls, Rising Tides”, Dinneen stated that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and noted “the notion of a rising tide aptly describes the economic reach of the American ethanol industry.”

Dinneen said the RFS was established to “wean America off our dependence on imported oil,” “stimulate investment in new technologies,” “provide consumers choice at the pump,” and “revive rural economies,” as well as “requiring a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels.”

“Without question, the Renewable Fuels Standard was, and is, visionary legislation that has become a model for progressive energy policy across the globe… And by any measure, the RFS has been a remarkable success.”

He stressed the need to protect the RFS, “All we ask of Washington is one thing – Keep. Your. Word. Keep your word. It’s that simple.”

The full text of the speech as prepared is available here.

RFA also unveiled a new study titled “Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States”, examining the nationwide impact of the ethanol industry in 2013 on job creation, the economy, household income and foreign oil displacement.