The curtain rises on a new year that promises to hold some familiar challenges for the ethanol industry. Continued growth in production will bump into market constraints. Debates around the merits of current ethanol tax policy and what potential new policy should look like will carry over from 2010. And, efforts to encourage investment to commercialize cellulosic and advanced biofuels must expand.

For the week ending Dec. 24, 2010, ethanol production was 913,000 barrels per day. That is an increase from the 892,000 barrels per day a week earlier, but down from the high of 939,000 barrels per day set during the week of Dec. 3, 2010.

Turning to monthly data, October 2010 ethanol production stood at 884,000 barrels per day. Through October, American ethanol producers averaged 851,000 barrels per day of production - an annualized rate of just over 13 billion gallons for 2010.

Average daily ethanol demand as calculated by the Renewable Fuels Association was a record at 887,000 barrels per day. That is up from 866,000 in September. Through October, RFA calculated demand is averaging 850,000 barrels per day. Stocks of ethanol in October stood at 17.295 million barrels, representing 19.5 days of supply.

Source: Renewable Fuels Association