The U.S. biodiesel industry reached a key milestone in 2011 by producing more than one billion gallons of fuel. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the total volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons easily exceeded the 800 million gallon target required under EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard. The previous record for biodiesel production was about 690 million gallons in 2008. The biodiesel industry's success comes after Congress reinstated the fuel's one-dollar-per-gallon tax credit in December 2010 and as the EPA's RFS program for biodiesel completed its first full year of implementation.
Anne Steckel, Vice President of Federal Affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, says biodiesel's success clearly demonstrates that the biodiesel tax incentive and the Renewable Fuel Standard are working just as Congress envisioned. Steckel says the biodiesel industry is creating jobs, reducing U.S. dependence on imported fuel and improving the environment.
"We've been seeing a lot of stories about setbacks in the renewable energy sector recently, and I think our success in 2011 reflects the bigger picture reality, which is that strong energy policy is working to stimulate production of clean, American-made energy," Steckel said.
A recent economic study commissioned by NBB found that biodiesel production of 1 billion gallons supports 39,027 jobs across the country and more than $2.1 billion in household income. An additional 11,698 jobs could be added between 2012 and 2013 alone under continued growth in the Renewable Fuel Standard and with an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.
"Now is not the time to be second-guessing the RFS or eliminating the biodiesel tax incentive," Steckel said. "We're proving that the policies work, that American innovation and competitiveness can pull us away from our dangerous dependence on imported fuel. Just as President Obama said in his State of the Union last week, we need to stay the course to continue creating jobs and building America's energy capacity."