EIA maintains 2017, 2018 ethanol production forecasts

By Erin Voegele | August 09, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration maintains its 2017 and 2018 ethanol production forecasts in the August edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook. The EIA currently expects ethanol production to average 1.02 million barrels per day this year, falling to 1.01 million barrels per day next year. The August outlook maintains the production forecasts made in the July STEO. Ethanol production averaged 1 million barrels per day last year.

On a quarterly basis, the ethanol production is expected to average 1.03 million barrels per day during the third and fourth quarters of 2017. In 2018, production is expected to average 1.01 million barrels per day during the first and second quarters, increasing to 1.02 million barrels per day during the final two quarters of the year.

The EIA also predicts 940,000 barrels per day of ethanol will be blended into U.S. motor gasoline, this year, with that level expected to remain flat next year. On a quarterly basis, 970,000 barrels per day of ethanol are expected to be blended during the third quarter of 2017, falling to 940,000 barrels per day during the fourth quarter. Next year, ethanol blending is expected to fall to 900,000 barrels per day during the first quarter, increase to 860,000 barrels per day during the second quarter, reach 970,000 barrels per day in the third quarter, and fall to 940,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter.

According to the EIA, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices averaged $2.30 per gallon in July, down 5 cents per gallon from June, but 6 cents per gallon higher than July of last year. During the April-through-September driving season, regular gasoline retail prices are expected to average $2.37 per gallon, 14 cents per gallon higher than last summer. Annual gasoline retail prices are expected to be $2.33 per gallon in 2017 and 2018.

The EIA’s most recently weekly ethanol production data shows production averaged 1.012 million barrels per day the week ending Aug. 4, up from 1.002 million barrels per day the previous week. The EIA’s most recent monthly data shows the U.S. imported 31,000 barrels of ethanol in May, all from Brazil. The U.S. also exported 2.84 million barrels of ethanol in May, primarily to Brazil, Canada, and the Philippines.