EIA revises 2016, 2017 ethanol production forecasts

By Erin Voegele | February 10, 2016

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the February edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting ethanol production will average approximately 965,000 barrels per day this year and next year. In January, the EIA predicted ethanol production would average 970,000 barrels per day in 2016 and 2017.

According to the EIA, ethanol production averaged 965,000 barrels per day last year. That level of production is currently expected to be maintained through 2017.

Ethanol consumption averaged 910,000 barrels per day last year. Consumption is expected to increase to 920,000 barrels per day this year and next year. According to the EIA, this level of consumption would result in the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool averaging 10 percent in both 2016 and 2017. The EIA also indicated it does not expect significant increases in E15 or E85 consumption over the forecast period.

Biodiesel production averaged 84,000 barrels per day last year, and is expected to increase to 107,000 barrels per day this year and 112,000 barrels per day next year. Net imports of biobased diesel are expected to rise from 28,000 barrels per day in 2015 to 47,000 barrels per day in 2016 and to remain at that level in 2017.

The EIA currently predicts the U.S. retail regular gasoline price is average $1.98 per gallon this year and $2.21 per gallon next year, compared with $2.43 per gallon in 2015. In January, the average retail regular gasoline price was $1.95 per gallon, down 9 cents per gallon from December, and the first time monthly gasoline prices averaged below $2 per gallon since March 2009. The EIA said it expects the monthly average retail price of U.S. regular gasoline to reach a seven-year low of $1.82 per gallon in February, before rising during the spring.

The EIA’s most recent weekly ethanol production data indicates production averaged 969,000 barrels per day the week ending Feb. 5, up slightly from 959,000 barrels per day the prior week. The administration’s most recent monthly import data shows 498,000 barrels of ethanol was imported in November, with 492,000 of that volume coming from Brazil and 6,000 from Canada. Ethanol exports reached 1.45 million barrels in November, with top export destinations of Canada, China, and the Philippines.