EIA: Ethanol production down 28%, stocks down 7%

By Erin Voegele | February 24, 2021

U.S. ethanol production fell nearly 28 percent to 658,000 barrels per day the week ending Feb. 19, reaching its lowest level since May 8, 2020, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Feb. 24. The drop reflects issues related to the polar vortex that hit most of the U.S. last week that caused power outages and disruptions in the natural gas market. Stocks were down more than 7 percent for the week.

According to the EIA, U.S. ethanol production averaged 658,000 per day the week ending Feb.19, down 253,000 barrels per day when compared to the 911,000 barrels per day produced during the previous week. When compared to the same week of last year, production was down 396,000 barrels per day.

Weekly ending stocks of fuel ethanol fell to 22.785 million barrels the week ending Feb. 19, down 1.512 million barrels when compared to the 24.297 million barrels of stocks reported for the previous week. When compared to the same week of last year, ethanol stocks for the week ending Feb. 19 were down 1.933 million barrels.

“As expected, EIA’s weekly data confirm that the winter storm took quite a toll on the U.S. ethanol industry last week,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “Electricity outages, major disruptions in the natural gas market, and transportation issues forced many ethanol producers to reduce output rates by 40 percent or more, and some were forced to fully idle. Production was the lowest since the first week of May 2020, when the industry was first beginning to climb out of the giant hole created by the COVID pandemic. In fact, last week’s production was down 38% compared to the same week a year ago. With much warmer weather this week, the natural gas and electricity mess is beginning to untangle itself, but it may be another week or so before the industry returns to pre-vortex operations.”