Renewable Energy Report: March 2017 Report

U.S. annual fuel ethanol production in 2016 was 15.329 billion gallons, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Fuel Ethanol Supply and Disposition monthly data released Feb. 28, 2017. Compared to 2015 production, this is a 3.5 percent increase. In November 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the volume requirements across all types of biofuels for calendar year 2016 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The final 2016 standard for corn ethanol was set at 14.5 billion gallons. 

The total annual fuel ethanol production from 2009 to 2016 is shown in Figure 1. Following drought conditions in 2012, U.S. ethanol production has been increasing significantly since 2013. Notice the annual production linear trend line in Figure 1, indicating U.S. ethanol production has increased an average of 0.47 billion gallons in each year.

Read More on An Analysis of Ethanol Production by State and Iowa Ethanol Crush Margins

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s projections for the farm sector through 2026/27 were released in February 2017 (USDA-OCE, 2017). Specific assumptions about macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments are the basis for these projections. Among the underlying assumptions were no domestic or external shocks that would impact global agricultural supply and demand, normal weather conditions with trend crop production yields, and no changes in the provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Act) during the projected period. Variation in any of the assumptions can substantially affect the projections and modify the results. The 2015/16 estimates and 2016/17 projections from the USDA’s November 2016 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report served as the starting point in the formulation of these projections. USDA completed the macroeconomic assumptions in October 2016.

Read More on USDA Long Term Projections: U.S. Corn and Soybean Production and Expected Usage for Biofuels

The Strategic Plan for a Thriving and Sustainable Bioeconomy developed by the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office that will develop and demonstrate transformative and revolutionary sustainable bioenergy technologies for the United States, can be found....


The spreadsheets listed below provide data and trends for various components of the renewable energy industry. These files are updated with new information each month.

Energy prices and their grain feedstock prices are commodity prices that are vulnerable to large swings over time.  This section provides time-series trends in these prices and their relationship to each other. Comparisons are presented for crude oil, diesel fuel and gasoline with corn and soybean prices. These monthly data series include comparisons between energy prices (crude oil, gasoline and diesel fuel) and crop prices (corn and soybeans).

The profitability of production for corn, ethanol, and biodiesel is extremely variable. Due to the volatile price nature of these products and their feedstocks, profitability can change rapidly from month to month. In addition, price variations of co-products such as distillers grains with solubles and the production facility’s energy source of natural gas add to the variability of profits. The models are updated with monthly input and output prices to show the changes in production profitability.

Balance sheets for ethanol and biodiesel, as well as their feedstocks of corn and soybean oil provide insight on available supplies, various sources of demand, and carryover stocks that are left at the end of the marketing year after all demands have been met.