WASHINGTON — U.S. ethanol production set a new record of 15.33 billion gallons (bg) in 2016, according to data released today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA data also show that the average gallon of gasoline likely contained slightly more than 10.0% ethanol in 2016.

Total ethanol production in 2016 was up 3.5% from the previous high of 14.81 billion gallons in 2015. The data also suggest domestic ethanol disappearance of 14.4 billion gallons in 2016 (14.06 bg of input by blenders/refiners and 340 mg of “supply adjustments”), along with exports of 1.05 bg.

U.S. gasoline consumption totaled 143.37 bg, up 1.9% from 2015 and a new all-time record. The data imply an average ethanol blend rate across the U.S. of 10.04%, meaning higher level blends like E15 and E85 saw increased market penetration.

EIA also reported that a new monthly production record was established in December, with output averaging 1.047 million barrels per day.

“It was another fantastic year of setting new records for America’s ethanol industry. My hat is off to the hard-working men and women of this industry, who work every day to make our nation more energy secure, more economically vibrant, and more environmentally sustainable,” said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). “Driven by the Renewable Fuel Standard and attractive blending economics, domestic refiners and blenders used more ethanol than ever before. In the end, 2016 will forever be remembered as the year we left the fictional ‘blend wall’ in the dust once and for all.”