EIA slightly increases 2016, 2017 ethanol production forecast

By Erin Voegele | March 09, 2016

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the March edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, reporting that ethanol production averaged 966,000 barrels per day last year, with production expected to average slightly more than that level this year and in 2017. When compared to the forecasts made in the February STEO, the EIA has increased the 2016 ethanol production forecast by 0.6 percent and the 2017 forecast by 0.3 percent. 

Ethanol consumption averaged approximately 910,000 barrels per day in 2015, and is forecast to average more than 920,000 barrels per day in 2016 and 2017. This level of consumption results in the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool averaging 10 percent this year and next year. The EIA said it does not expect significant increases in E15 or E85 consumption over the forecast period.

Biodiesel production averaged 82,000 barrels per day last year. This year, production is expected to increase to 106,000 barrels per day this year and 112,000 barrels per day in 2017. Net imports of biomass-based diesel are expected to increase from 29,000 barrels per day last year, to 47,000 barrels per day in 2016 and remain at that level in 2017.

According to the STEO, retail regular gasoline prices fell to an average of $1.76 per gallon in February. EIA said it expects U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $1.84 per gallon in March, increasing to $2.02 per gallon in June. Gasoline averaged $2.43 per gallon last year, and is expected to average $1.89 per gallon this year, increasing to $1.97 per gallon next year.

The EIA’s most recent weekly ethanol production data shows production averaged 978,000 barrels per day the week of March 4, down slightly from 987,000 barrels per day the prior week. Ethanol exports reached 1.95 million barrels in December, with imports of 228,000 barrels.