Consumption of renewable energy increased 3% in 2003, with ethanol use constituting a significant portion of that increase, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's recently released “Renewable Energy Trends 2003” report.

According to the report, ethanol use in the transportation sector increased from 156 trillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2002 to 220 trillion Btu in 2003, a 41% increase.

The increase in ethanol use was attributed to its primary use as an oxygenate additive in reformulated gasoline and its replacement of Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE), which until recently was the primary oxygenate additive.

MTBE consumption has declined from 313 trillion Btu in 2001 to 225 trillion Btu in 2003.