3 February 2015
Encouraging new figures have revealed biodiesel consumption rates reached a record high of almost 2.1 billion gallons in the US in 2015, reducing carbon emissions by more than 18 million metric tonnes according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Joe Jobe, CEO of the US National Biodiesel Board, put the record result down to a combination of increased consumer appetite and awareness, and the fruits of the government’s much debated minimum standards on renewable fuels.
“We’re seeing it take hold across the country”, Mr Jobe told the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in Florida last week. “Consumers are seeking out cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels and they see biodiesel as a high-performing, cost-competitive alternative to petroleum diesel.”
“These numbers also show that the Renewable Fuel Standard is delivering significant volumes of Advanced Biofuel to the American people. They prove the RFS is absolutely working”, Mr Jobe said.
News of the rising popularity of renewable fuels comes hot on the heels of a string of major achievements for the US biofuels sector in the back half 2015. In November, the EPA announced better than expected new benchmarks for biomass-based fuels for the next two years under the mandatory Renewable Fuels Standard instrument. The standard requires 1.9 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel in 2016 and 2 billion gallons in 2017. Then in December, Congress reinstated the biodiesel blender’s tax incentive for producers.
In line with biodiesel consumption growth, fuel companies also reported higher biodiesel production levels – up from 1.97 billion gallons in 2014 to 2.09 billion gallons last year – although a 25 per cent jump in imported materials reignited the debate around whether the blender’s tax break should be converted to a domestic production credit.
Despite this one bone of contention that will no doubt be the focus of further analysis and lobbying in 2016, the National Biodiesel Board is upbeat about the platform that has now been laid for sustainable, year-on-year growth of the renewable fuels sector in the US.
“Biodiesel is still a young industry, but it is becoming a mainstream American fuel that’s having a real impact in helping us cut pollution, create jobs and diversify the fuels market… 2016 is going to be our strongest year yet,” Joe Jobe said.
For a wrap on the major take-outs from last week’s National Biodiesel Conference and Expo visit http://tiny.cc/3uhs8x.