The U.S. biodiesel industry has set a new record for annual production. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the biodiesel industry has produced more than 802 million gallons of biodiesel in plants from Florida to Washington State. This is more than double last year's production of about 315 million gallons. The previous record of about 690 million gallons was set in 2009.
Production collapsed last year as the federal tax incentive for biodiesel expired. The National Biodiesel Board's Ben Evans says that jobs fell sharply to under 13,000 and that some jobs were lost permanently.
"Some plants have not come back and you have seen some industry consolidation," Evans said. "Overall it is very clear that this tax incentive is working as it is intended to work to stimulate production and create jobs and produce more biodiesel."
The new record comes as the tax incentive for biodiesel was reinstated this year, but without Congressional action, this credit is in danger of expiring on Dec. 31.
Gabe Neeriemer, president of Patriot biodiesel in Greensboro, N.C., says that without question this tax credit has helped the industry grow production and hire new people and it will play a big role in growth going forward. He says that it will affect how many people plants can hire, how much feedstock and equipment they buy, and how many truckers they put to work delivering fuel.
Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, says this tax incentive is without a doubt stimulating production of biodiesel and creating jobs.
"We're clearly seeing that from our members across the country," Steckel said. "We have a little over a month before it could expire again, and it is past time that Congress step up and pass an extension to keep this industry's momentum going."