EIA revises 2017, 2018 ethanol production forecasts

By Erin Voegele | February 08, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the February edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting U.S. fuel ethanol production will average 1.01 million barrels per day in 2017 and 2018, up from 1 million barrels per day in 2016. In January, the EIA predicted ethanol production would average 1 million barrels per day this year, increasing to 1.02 million barrels per day next year.

On a quarterly basis, fuel ethanol production is expected to average 1.02 million barrels per day during the first three months of this year, falling to 1 million barrels per day in the second quarter, increasing to 1.02 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter and finishing out the final quarter of the year at 1 million barrels per day. In 2018, the EIA currently expects fuel ethanol production to reach 1.03 million barrels per day during the first quarter, falling to 1.02 million barrels per day during the second and third quarters, and falling to 980,000 barrels per day during the fourth quarter.

According to the February STEO, the EIA currently expects U.S. fuel ethanol consumption to average 940,000 barrels per day in 2017 and 2018, maintaining the 2016 consumption level.

U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are expected to fall from an average of $2.35 per gallon in January to an average of $2.27 per gallon in February, before increasing to an average of $2.33 per gallon in March. For the full year 2017, gasoline prices are expected to average $2.39 per gallon, increasing to $2.44 per gallon in 2018.

The EIA’s most recent weekly ethanol production data shows production averaged 1.055 million barrels per day the week ending Feb. 3, down from a record 1.061 million barrels per day set the week ending Jan. 27. The EIA’s most recent monthly import data shows the U.S. imported only 31,000 barrels of ethanol in September, all from Canada. The most recent monthly export data shows the U.S. exported 2.904 million barrels of ethanol in November, with Brazil, Canada, and China as the top destinations.