EIA increases 2020 ethanol production forecast

By Erin Voegele | March 12, 2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration slightly increased its forecast for 2020 ethanol production in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released March 11. The 2021 forecast, however, was unchanged.

The EIA currently predicts ethanol production will average 1.04 million barrels per day this year, up from its forecast of 1.03 million barrels per year made in the February STEO. The forecast for 2021 ethanol production was maintained at 1.03 million barrels per day.

On a quarterly basis, the EIA predicts ethanol production will average 1.03 million barrels per day during the first quarter of this year, increase to 1.04 million barrels per day in the second quarter, fall to 1.02 million barrels per day in the third quarter, and return to 1.03 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter. For 2021, ethanol production is expected to average 1.02 million barrels per day in the first quarter, increasing to 1.03 million barrels per day in the second and third quarters, and increasing again to 1.04 million barrels per day in the final quarter of the year.

Ethanol consumption is currently expected to average 950,000 barrels per day this year, flat with 2019. In 2021, ethanol consumption is expected to fall to an average of 940,000 barrels per day.

The EIA’s most recent weekly data shows ethanol production averaged 1.044 million barrels per day the week ending March 6, down from 1.079 million barrels per day the previous week. Weekly ethanol ending stocks fell to 24.334 million barrels the week ending March 6, down from a record high of 24.964 million barrels the previous week.

The agency’s most recent monthly data shows the U.S. imported 269,000 barrels of ethanol in December, all from Brazil. During the same month, the U.S. exported 3.49 million barrels of ethanol, primarily to Canada, Brazil, and India.