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EIA raises ethanol production forecast may short-term outlook

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has slightly increased its ethanol production forecast for this year in the May issue of its Short-Term Energy Outlook.

The EIA now projects ethanol production to average 911,000 barrels per day in 2014, up from the 908,000 barrels per day forecast made in April. Since December, monthly production estimates have ranged from a low of 900,000 barrels per day in the December STEO to a high of 913,000 barrels per day in the January STEO.

In its most recent short-term outlook, the EIA highlighted that railroad delays due to extreme winter temperatures in the Midwest led to significant ethanol price increases across the U.S. in February and March, especially on the East Coast. However, these rail constraints have since eased, and ethanol production increased from an average of 890,000 barrels per day in March to over 910,000 barrels per day in April.

Looking ahead to 2015, ethanol production is forecasted to average 922,000 barrels per day.

Biodiesel production reached 104,000 barrels per day in December but declined to 54,000 barrels per day in January. Biodiesel production averaged 89,000 barrels per day last year and is expected to average 84,000 barrels per day this year. Next year, production is anticipated to increase to 86,000 barrels per day.

For the summer driving season (April through September), retail gasoline prices are expected to average $3.61 per gallon, representing a 3-cent increase over last year’s average and a 4-cent increase from the EIA’s estimate in the April STEO. The projected national average regular gasoline retail price is forecasted to decrease from $3.72 per gallon in May to $3.51 per gallon in September. EIA anticipates regular gasoline retail prices to average $3.48 per gallon this year, dropping to $3.39 per gallon in 2015.

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