EIA revises 2017, 2018 ethanol production forecasts

By Erin Voegele | July 13, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the July edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, slightly dropping its 2017 and 2018 ethanol production forecasts.

The EIA now predicts ethanol production will average 1.02 million barrels per day this year, falling to 1.01 million barrels per day next year. In 2016, ethanol production averaged 1 million barrels per day. In the June STEO, the EIA predicted ethanol production would average 1.03 million barrels per day in 2017, falling to 1.02 million barrels per day in 2018. 

In its report, the EIA notes that if the current prediction for this year is realized, the U.S. will set a new record for annual ethanol production.

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

Ethanol consumption averaged approximately 940,000 barrels per day last year, and is expected to increase slightly this year and next year. This level of consumption is expected to result in the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool increasing to nearly 10.1 percent in both 2017 and 2018.

Biodiesel production averaged 101,000 barrels per day in 2016, and is forecast to increase to an average of 105,000 barrels per day this year and 109,000 barrels per day next year. Net imports of biodiesel are expected to fall from 54,000 barrels per day in 2016, to 53,000 barrels per day in 2017, rising to 59,000 barrels per day in 2018.

U.S. regular gasoline retail prices averaged $2.35 per gallon in June, down 4 cents per gallon from May. During the April-through-September driving season, gasoline prices are expected to average $2.38 per gallon, 15 cents per gallon higher than last summer. For all of 2017, gasoline prices are expected to average $2.32 per gallon, increasing to $2.33 per gallon in 2018.

The EIA’s most recent weekly ethanol production data shows production reached an average of 1.007 million barrels per day the week ending July 7, down from 1.014 million barrels per day the previous week. The EIA’s most recent monthly data shows the U.S. imported 197,000 barrels of ethanol in April, all from Brazil. The U.S. exported nearly 2.18 million barrels of ethanol in April, primarily to Brazil, Canada and Nigeria.