Today in Energy

August 6, 2012

Biodiesel demand estimates now provided in petroleum supply and demand balances

graph of U.S. Distillate fuel demand, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly.

Biodiesel production data were reported for the first time in U.S. and regional petroleum supply and disposition balances as published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in the Petroleum Supply Monthly (PSM) in May 2012. The biodiesel production data in the PSM will allow EIA to more completely account for biodiesel when calculating demand (measured as product supplied) for distillate fuel oil. Biodiesel production and other biodiesel data are now included in the item "Renewable Fuels Except Fuel Ethanol" in PSM supply and disposition tables.

In addition, previously published PSM data for January-April 2012 were revised to include biodiesel production. Similar revisions will be reported for 2011 when the Petroleum Supply Annual is released at the end of August 2012.

Product supplied is a widely followed measure of demand for petroleum products. For finished petroleum products (including distillate fuel oil), product supplied is calculated as the sum of production, imports, net receipts (only for regional data), and adjustments minus the sum of stock change, refinery and blender input, and exports. While not a measure of actual consumption, product supplied has proven to be a useful approximation of demand for petroleum products.

In the case of biodiesel, EIA assumes that any biodiesel that is produced is blended with diesel fuel, adding to the diesel fuel pool. This biodiesel production amount adds to the distillate fuel product supplied level, as shown on the graph. Including biodiesel production in the distillate fuel production volume added between 50 to 70 thousand barrels per day over the first five months of 2012.