EIA Increases Forecasts for 2016

Production, Demand Expectations Revised Higher

OAKHURST, N.J. (DTN) --- In its latest Short-term Energy Outlook released Tuesday, the Energy Information Administration again revised higher its 2016 forecast for both ethanol production and demand.

EIA said ethanol production averaged an estimated 966,000 bpd in 2015, and is forecast to average between 970,000 bpd and 980,000 bpd in 2016 and 2017. This compares with last month's estimate at "slightly more" than the 2015 average.

The agency repeated that ethanol consumption in 2015 averaged 910,000 bpd, while increasing its forecast for 2016 and 2017 to about 930,000 bpd versus 920,000 bpd a month ago.

"This level of consumption results in the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool averaging 10% in both 2016 and 2017. EIA does not expect significant increases in E15 or E85 consumption over the forecast period."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 30, 2015, finalized a rule setting Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2014 through 2016. EIA used these finalized volumes to develop the current STEO and assumes the 2016 targets for 2017, except the biomass-based diesel 2017 target of 2.0 billion gallons, which was included in the Nov. 30 rule.

EIA continues to expect the largest effect of the proposed RFS targets would be for biodiesel consumption, which helps to meet the RFS targets for use of biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel. Biodiesel production averaged 82,000 bpd in 2015 and is forecast to average 100,000 bpd this year, down 6,000 bpd from last month's estimate. In 2017, the estimate is 106,000 bpd, also down 6,000 bpd from a month ago. Net imports of biomass-based diesel are also expected to increase from 29,000 bpd in 2015 to 45,000 bpd in 2016 and 47,000 bpd in 2017.

The agency estimates that energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide decreased by about 2.5% in 2015. Emissions are forecast to decrease by 0.9% in 2016 and then increase by 0.9% in 2017. These forecasts are sensitive to assumptions about weather and economic growth.