Ethanol Production Continues Decline

Cindy Zimmerman

The latest production numbers for the week ending April 17 continue to reflect the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the ethanol industry.

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production declined 1.2%, or 7,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 563,000 b/d—the lowest level since the EIA began reporting ethanol production statistics in 2010. Production was 46% below the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production rate dropped 14.4% to 661,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 10.13 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks rose 0.8% to a record 27.7 million barrels, eclipsing last week’s previous peak. However, the bulk of inventory growth occurred in the Gulf Coast (PADD 3), up 5.8%, with the East Coast (PADD 1), Rocky Mountain (PADD 4), and West Coast (PADD 5) regions scaling back.

A sign of hope, the volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, moved 4.5% higher to 5.311 million b/d (81.42 bg annualized) – which is still 44% lower than a year ago.

Similarly, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol were up 3.4% to 523,000 b/d, but still 44% below the year-earlier level.

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