EIA revises 2018 ethanol production forecast in latest STEO

By Erin Voegele | December 14, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released its Short-Term Energy Outlook for December, maintaining its 2017 ethanol production forecast, but slightly lowering its production forecast for 2018.

The EIA now predicts ethanol production will average 1.03 million barrels per day in both 2017 and 2018, up from 1 million barrels per day in 2016. In the November STEO, the EIA predicted that ethanol production would average 1.03 million barrels per day this year, increasing to 1.04 million barrels per day next year.

On a quarterly basis, the EIA currently predicts fuel ethanol production will reach 1.05 million barrels per day during the fourth quarter of 2017. During the first quarter of next year, production is expected to fall to an average of 1.02 million barrels per day, before increasing to 1.03 million barrels per day in the second quarter, and 1.04 million barrels per day during the final two quarters of the year.

The STEO also predicts 940,000 barrels of fuel ethanol will be consumed this year, increasing to 960,000 barrels per day next year.

In its STEO, the EIA said U.S. regular gasoline retail prices averaged $2.56 per gallon in November, up nearly 6 cents per gallon from October. Gasoline retail prices are expected to average $2.59 per gallon in December, up 34 cents when compared to the same period of last year. Next year, the EIA predicts that U.S. gasoline retail prices will average $2.51 per gallon.

The EIA’s most recent weekly ethanol production data shows ethanol production reached a near-record level of 1.089 million barrels per day the week ending Dec. 8, down from the current record of 1.108 million barrels per day set the week ending Dec. 1. 

The EIA’s most recent monthly data shows the U.S. imported 254,000 barrels of ethanol in September, all from Brazil. During the same month, the U.S. exported 2.063 million barrels of ethanol, primarily to Canada, Indonesia and Brazil.