During the week ending Sep. 13, weekly use by blenders and refiners fell to 905,000 bpd, down 2.7 percent week over week and 2.5 percent YOY. The last time weekly inputs averaged below 905,000 bpd was in early March. In previous years, utilization has picked up slightly or remained stable from mid-September through October.
Expansion of ethanol blend rates may be impacted by additional EPA small refinery exemption waivers. Although average blending use is up 1 percent YOY, margins in the ethanol industry have been razor-thin in recent months. Thus, some ethanol producers are reducing production or idling production entirely.