A new survey shows 77% of consumers favor biodiesel as a source of energy, while 70% of consumers find it more favorable because it's a new green industry that creates jobs.
The online survey was conducted by the United Soybean Board in May and released during the 2008 Farm Progress Show held this week in Boone, Iowa.
"With biodiesel we don't have to choose between food, feed and fuel," says USB vice chair Chuck Myers, Lyons, Neb.
Biodiesel uses less than 2% of all soybeans. By contrast, the U.S. ethanol industry will gobble up over 30% of the U.S. corn crop this year, according to USDA estimates. That ever-increasing corn usage for ethanol has spurred debates in Washington over high food costs.
But according to Myers, the differentiation between corn and soy use for biofuels was not the point of the survey.
"We're not trying to distance ourselves from ethanol," he says. "We just don't want the ethanol issue to spill over to biodiesel. Most farmers who grow bean also grow corn. All biofuels are important to our future.
"We don't want this to be seen as detrimental to ethanol," Myers continues. "We want them both to succeed. We're pretty confident we can meet all the demands for food, feed and fuel."
USB initiated the survey over concerns it had after seeing more negative reports in the mainstream media about biofuels. "But the results of the survey show it's all good news," says Myers. "It was good to see that over 70% of consumers understand that the higher cost of food is related to oil prices, not biodiesel or ethanol."