EIA: 2018 Ethanol Output, Demand Flat

OAKHURST, N.J. (DTN) -- In its latest Short-term Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration forecast ethanol production this year and next to average 1.0 million barrels per day (bpd), on par with 2017.

Ethanol consumption, which averaged about 940,000 bpd in 2017, is forecast to be about 940,000 bpd again in 2018 and then rise to 950,000 bpd in 2019, resulting in the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool to increase slightly from an average of 10.1% in 2017 to an average approaching 10.2% by 2019. EIA said this increase in the ethanol share assumes that recent marginal growth in higher-level ethanol blends continues during the forecast period.

On June 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed rulemaking that set the Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2019 and biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020. EIA used these final volumes to develop the forecasts for 2018 and 2019.

EIA expects that the largest effect of the current RFS targets, along with recent duties placed on biodiesel imports, will be on biomass-based diesel production and net imports, which help to meet the RFS targets for use of biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel.

Biodiesel production averaged an estimated 104,000 bpd in 2017 and is forecast to increase to an average of 131,000 bpd in 2018 and to 144,000 bpd in 2019. The agency said that largely because of recent duties imposed on foreign biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia, net imports of biomass-based diesel are expected to fall from an estimated 33,000 bpd in 2017 to 30,000 bpd in 2018 and then rise to 35,000 bpd in 2019.