EIA Increases 2015, 2016 Ethanol Production Forecasts

Ethanol Producer Magazine

March 10, 2015

By Erin Voegele

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has published the March issue of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, increasing its forecasts for both 2015 and 2016 ethanol production.

According to the EIA, ethanol production hit a new record monthly average of 1.002 million barrels per day in December 2014, with production in February estimated to have fallen to an average of 948,000 barrels per day. Ethanol production averaged 935,000 barrels per day last year.

The EIA currently predicts ethanol production will average 947,000 barrels per day this year, up from a forecast of 938,000 barrels per day made in the February STEO. In 2016, ethanol production is expected to drop slightly, averaging 942,000 barrels per day, up from the 936,000 barrel per day estimated included in the February STEO.

Biodiesel production averaged an estimated 93,000 barrels per day in 2014 and is expected to average 84,000 barrels per day this year and next year.

According to the EIA, average U.S. gasoline retail prices increased for the sixth consecutive week, from $2.04 per gallon on Jan. 26 to $2.49 per gallon on March 9. In the STEO, the EIA said the increase reflects rising crude oil prices and several outages at West Coast refineries. Gasoline retail prices, which averaged $3.36 per gallon last year, are expected to average $2.39 per gallon this year, up 5 cents per gallon when compared to the forecast made in the February STEO. In 2016, gasoline prices are expected to increase, averaging $2.73 per gallon.

The EIA’s most recent weekly ethanol production data shows production averaged 931,000 barrels per day for the week ending Feb. 27, down slightly from an average of 947,000 barrels per day for the week ending Feb. 20. The most recent monthly import and export data indicates the U.S. imported 292,000 barrels of ethanol in December, with 285,000 barrels of that volume imported from Brazil. Only 33,000 barrels were imported in November. The U.S. exported nearly 1.8 million barrels of ethanol in December, down from nearly 2.17 billion barrels in November. Top export destinations in December included 630,000 barrels to Canada, 414,000 barrels to Brazil, and 251,000 barrels to the Philippines.

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