EIA lowers forecasts for 2020 ethanol production, consumption

By Erin Voegele | October 09, 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration lowered its forecast for 2020 ethanol production in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Oct. 8. The forecast for 2019 ethanol production was maintained.

The EIA currently predicts ethanol production will average 1.03 million barrels per day in both 2019 and 2020, down from 1.05 million barrels per day last year. In September, the EIA predicted ethanol production would average 1.04 million barrels per day in 2020, a drop from the August STEO forecast of 1.05 million barrels per day.

On a quarterly basis, U.S. ethanol production is expected to average 1.02 million barrels per day in the third quarter of 2019, increasing to 1.03 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter. For 2020, the EIA currently predicts ethanol production will average 1.02 million barrels per day during the first quarter, increasing to 1.04 million barrels per day during the second quarter, falling to 1.03 million barrels per day during the third quarter before returning to 1.04 million barrels per day during the final quarter of the year.

The EIA also reduced its forecast for 2020 ethanol consumption. The agency currently predicts the U.S. will consume approximately 940,000 barrels of ethanol per day in 2019 and 2020, level with 2018 consumption. In September, the EIA predicted 2020 ethanol consumption would increase to 850,000 barrels per day.

The EIA’s most recent weekly data shows ethanol production averaged approximately 963,000 barrels per day the week ending Oct. 4, up from 958,000 barrels per week reported for the previous week.

Weekly U.S. ending stocks of ethanol fell to 21.224 million barrels the week ending Oct. 4, down from 23.219 million barrels the previous week.

The agency’s most recent monthly data shows the U.S. imported 544,000 barrels of ethanol in July, all from Brazil. The U.S. exported 2.863 million barrels of ethanol during the same month, primarily to Canada, Brazil, and Oman.