EIA slightly increases ethanol production outlook in new report

By Erin Voegele | March 14, 2014

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has published the March edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, slightly increasing its 2014 ethanol forecast. The EIA now predicts ethanol production will average 910,000 barrels per day in 2014, up slightly from the February STEO prediction that it would average 908,000 barrels per day. The new estimate is also an improvement over the EIA’s December prediction that ethanol production would average only 900,000 barrels per day this year, but below the January prediction of 913,000 barrels per day.

According to the EIA, ethanol production averaged 949,000 barrels per day in December 2013, up from an average of 825,000 barrels per day in December 2012. Biodiesel production averaged 87,000 barrels per day in 2013 and is expected to average approximately 85,000 barrels per day in 2014 and 2015.

On a quarterly basis, the EIA currently predicts ethanol production will average 900,000 barrels per day during the first quarter of this year, increasing to 910,000 barrels per day for the remainder of the year. In 2015, production is expected to be maintained at the 910,000 barrels per day level.

The U.S. consumed an estimated 400,000 barrels per day of liquid fuels last year, with motor gasoline fuel growing consumption growing by 90,000 barrels per day or, 1.1 percent. The EIA predicts that gasoline consumption will remain relatively flat in 2014. Gas prices averaged $3.51 per gallon last year and are expected to fall to an average of $3.45 per gallon this year and $3.37 per gallon in 2015.

The EIA’s most recently weekly ethanol production data indicates production averaged 869,000 barrels per day the week of March 7, down from 894,000 barrels per day the prior week. The most recent export numbers show that 1.544 million barrels of ethanol were exported in December, down slightly from the 1.964 million barrels exported in November.