EIA: 2016, 2017 ethanol production to increase over 2015

By Erin Voegele | April 14, 2016

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the April edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting ethanol production this year will increase when compared to 2015 levels.

According to the EIA, ethanol production averaged 966,000 barrels per day last year. The agency currently predicts production will increase this year and next year, averaging between 970,000 and 980,000 barrels per day in 2016 and 2017. In its March STEO, the EIA predicted ethanol production would average slightly more than last year’s 966,000 barrel per day level during the same timeframe.

Ethanol consumption averaged approximately 910,000 barrels per day last year, and is forecast to increase to an average of 970,000 and 980,000 barrels per day in 2016 and 2017. This level of consumption results in the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool averaging 10 percent both this year and next year.  This summer, the EIA projects ethanol blending into gasoline will increase by 20,000 barrels per day when compared to last summer’s level of 950,000 barrels per day. According to the EIA, 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 and is expected to increase to 100,000 barrels per day this year and 106,000 barrels per day next year. Net imports of biomass-based diesel are expected to increase from 29,000 barrels per day last year to 45,000 barrels per day in 2016 and 47,000 barrels per day in 2017.

During the 2016 April-though-September driving season, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are expected to average $2.04 per gallon, down from $2.63 per gallon last summer. For all of 2016, the EIA forecasts gasoline prices will average $1.94 per gallon.

The EIA’s most recent weekly ethanol data shows production averaged 938,000 barrels per day the week of April 8, down from 976,000 barrels per day the prior week. The most recent monthly data shows exports reached 2.08 million barrels in January, with imports at 3,000 barrels during the same month.