EIA predicts increased ethanol production, consumption

By Erin Voegele | May 12, 2016

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released the May edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting ethanol production will average approximately 980,000 barrels per day this year and next year. In the April STEO, the EIA predicted ethanol production would average 970,000 to 980,000 barrels per day in 2016 and 2017. 

According to the report, ethanol production averaged almost 970,000 barrels per day last year, with consumption at approximately 910,000 barrels per day. Consumption is expected to increase to about 930,000 barrels per day in both 2016 and 2017. At this level of consumption, the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool is expected to average 10 percent in both years. The EIA said it does not expect a significant increase in E15 or E85 consumption over the forecast period.

Biodiesel production averaged 82,000 barrels per day in 2015 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 also expected to increase, from 29,000 barrels per day last year to 42,000 barrels per day this year and 47,000 barrels per day in 2017.

During the April-though-September driving season, the EIA predicts regular gasoline retail prices will average $2.21 per gallon, 17 cents higher than forecast in the April STEO, but 42 cents per gallon lower than last summer. Gasoline prices are expected to average $2.08 in 2016 and $2.24 per gallon in 2017, up 14 cents per gallon and 24 cents per gallon when compared to the April STEO forecast, respectively.

The EIA’s most recent weekly ethanol production data shows production averaged 962,000 barrels per day the week of May 6, up from 923,000 barrels per day the prior week. The EIA’s most recent monthly data shows imports were at 3,000 barrels in February, while exports were at nearly 1.59 million barrels.