In Washington, D.C., the EIA released its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for the week ending March 27, which was the first to reflect more fully the impact on the ethanol industry from the social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions associated with COVID-19, showing the largest ethanol production decline since the EIA began reporting ethanol production statistics in 2010.
According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production plummeted 16.4%, or 165,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 840,000 b/d, the lowest level in six and a half years. The decline was the largest since the EIA began reporting ethanol production statistics in 2010. The four-week average ethanol production rate declined 5.8% to 981,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.04 billion gallons.
Ethanol stocks rose 6.5% to a record 25.7 million barrels, eclipsing the previous high set four weeks prior. Inventories shifted higher across all regions except the Midwest (PADD 2). A majority of the stocks build took place in the Gulf Coast (PADD 3), where inventories grew by roughly one-quarter.
The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, fell to 6.659 million b/d (102.08 bg annualized), which was 24.6% lower than the prior week and 27.1% lower than the same week in 2019. It was the smallest volume since the week of Jan. 28, 1994.
Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol plummeted to 601,000 b/d, equivalent to only 9.21 bg annualized, which was 31.2% below the prior week and 33.9% below the year-earlier level. It was the lowest level ever reported by the EIA.
There were no imports of ethanol recorded for the third straight week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of January 2020.)