EIA maintains 2017, 2018 ethanol production forecasts

By Erin Voegele | June 09, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the June edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting fuel ethanol production will average 1.03 million barrels per day this year, falling to 1.02 million barrels per day in 2018. The updated outlook maintains production forecasts made by the EIA in May.

On a quarterly basis, the STEO shows ethanol production reached 1.03 million barrels per day during the first quarter of this year. Production is expected to fall to 1.01 million barrels per day during the second quarter, before rebounding to 1.03 million barrels per day during the third and fourth quarters. Ethanol production is expected to fall to 1.02 million barrels per day during the first and second quarters of next year, before increasing to 1.03 million barrels per day during the final two quarters of the year.

According to the EIA, fuel ethanol blending is expected to reach 956,000 barrels per day during the second quarter of this year, up 2.1 percent compared to the same period of last year. During the third quarter, fuel ethanol blending is expected to reach 972,000 barrels per day, up 1.5 percent when compared to the third quarter of 2016. For the summer season, ethanol blending is expected to reach 964,000 barrels per day, up 1.8 percent from last year.

For the 2017 summer driving season, the EIA predicts regular gasoline retail prices will average $2.46 per gallon, up from $2.23 per gallon last summer. The higher forecast gasoline price is primarily attributed to higher forecast crude oil prices. For all of 2017, the average price for regular gasoline is expected to be $2.38 per gallon.

The EIA’s most recent weekly data shows ethanol production reached an average of 999,000 barrels per day the week ending June 2, down from 1.02 million barrels per day the previous week.

The most recent monthly export data shows the U.S. exported more than 3.04 million barrels of ethanol in March, primarily to Brazil, India and Canada. The most recent monthly import data shows the U.S. imported 377,000 barrels of ethanol in February, all from Brazil.