Tax Incentive Sees Movement in Senate,
Congress could be warming up to extending
a host of tax incentives that expired at the end of 2013, including the $1-per-gallon
biodiesel tax credit.
to press reports, new Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is
poised to release “tax extenders” legislation this week, with the committee
slated to take up the bill shortly afterward. Additionally, House Ways and Means
Committee Chairman Dave Camp has alerted committee members that the panel will
move forward with hearings on the issue in early April. Both committees are reviewing
dozens of tax provisions for reinstatement and will face strong pressure to pare
down the list.
The National Biodiesel Board and
other biodiesel advocates are working hard to make sure that the biodiesel incentive
is included in the legislation, and we urge all biodiesel stakeholders to contact
your members of Congress as soon as possible to urge them to support the incentive.
The biodiesel tax incentive is a proven job creator
that stimulates biodiesel production nationwide. Last year, it helped the industry
set a new production record of nearly 1.8 billion gallons. But Congress allowed
the incentive to expire on Dec. 31, 2013, for the third time in five years, creating
uncertainty and disruptions across the industry. The recent congressional activity
is a positive step, but it marks the beginning of a long process that will require
vocal and dedicated advocacy on our part.
Contact your Senator or Representative
on this issue. Call us at 202-737-8801.
Punctuates Biodiesel Position as America's
Clean air and biodiesel - with the
California Air Resources Board proposal released late last month you are likely
to find both in California well into the future. The proposal recognizes biodiesel’s
sustainability and environmental benefits, takes a notable step in the right direction,
and will open new avenues for biodiesel use in the state.
For several years the Air
Resources Board has worked to assign Indirect Land Use Change values to various
alternative fuels. Though the concept of indirect land use remains under debate
nationally, in California, these values will ultimately determine how products
may be used to comply with the state’s low carbon fuel standard and future carbon reduction goals.
“We applaud the Air Resources
Board for recognizing the need to reduce carbon from transportation and fossil
fuels to mitigate climate change,” said Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board
Director of Sustainability. “Since America’s Advanced Biofuel, biodiesel,
is among the most effective tools for carbon reduction this represents a major
step forward. We are hopeful the agency will continue on this path to use the
best science to quantify the benefits of biodiesel.”
Figures released recently
are preliminary, however they bring California’s policy generally in line
with similar values defined by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has
concluded that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas by as much as 86 percent compared
to petroleum diesel. The ARB revised indirect land-use change estimates show biodiesel
is among the most sustainable fuels available.
Biodiesel Day Honors History, Celebrates Growth
The biodiesel industry celebrated
National Biodiesel Day on March 18 by recognizing the important role that America’s
Advanced Biofuel plays in the U.S. economy. Our nation is more dependent than
ever on diesel engines, which move the majority of goods from manufacturer to
consumer. More than ever before, cleaner burning, renewable biodiesel is playing
“Nearly every product that ends
up on a store shelf is dependent on diesel fuel to get it there,” said Joe Jobe,
National Biodiesel Board CEO. “That heavy reliance on one fuel means our
economy is directly linked to petroleum price swings. It’s in everyone’s best
interest to have a choice in transportation fuel, and that’s where biodiesel
- America’s first Advanced Biofuel – comes in.”
National Biodiesel Day is
celebrated on the anniversary of Rudolf Diesel's birthday. When he first introduced
the diesel engine, it ran not on petroleum but rather on peanut oil.
With plants in almost every
state, biodiesel production neared 1.8 billion gallons in 2013 and supported more
than 62,000 jobs. While a step in the right direction, inconsistent federal policy
threatens this progress. Right now two issues challenge the industry. A modest
tax incentive designed to help the growing biodiesel industry break into the petroleum
monopoly stands expired. The industry also is fighting a weak Renewable Fuel Standard
proposal from the EPA.
Fans Celebrate with Truly Green Beer
enthusiasts may celebrate with green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, but biodiesel
fans can choose truly “green” beer year-round. Many breweries throughout the
U.S. and Canada have robust sustainability initiatives that include using biodiesel.
Ranked as the second largest
U.S. craft brewing company by the Brewers Association, Sierra Nevada has used
a blend of up to 20 percent biodiesel (B20) for the last six years. Biodiesel
blends fuel 15 long-haul and local delivery trucks for the Chico, Calif. company.
“At the brewery we’re
always striving to essentially close the loop, and biodiesel helps us turn what
could be a waste product into something useful,” said Ryan Arnold, Sierra Nevada
communications manager. “The trucks perform well. With up to B20, we don’t
see much change in mileage.
A sampling of other breweries using biodiesel includes
- Red Lodge Ales in Red Lodge, Mont. has used biodiesel
for almost 10 years in its small fleet of delivery vehicles.
- Steam Whistle Brewing, a Toronto, Canada-based
craft brewery has a commercial delivery fleet made up entirely of biodiesel-fueled vehicles.
- Stone Brewing Co. has been brewing in North County
San Diego since 1996 and uses B20 in its fleet vehicles."
State Makes Big Strides in Clean Fuel Use
While small in size, Rhode Island
is population dense making it ripe for innovative energy solutions, including the use of biodiesel.
“Rhode Island may be small,
but we have the second-highest population density in the country, so fueling infrastructure
projects can have substantial impacts in the local market,” said Wendy Lucht,
coordinator of Ocean State Clean Cities Coalition (OSCCC).
In partnership with OSCC,
NBB-member-company Newport Biodiesel is helping the state expand its use of biodiesel.
Newport Biodiesel produces fuel from waste vegetable oil collected from more than
1,700 restaurant partners in the New England area. The company produced 1.2 million
gallons of biodiesel in 2013, of which more than half was used in the on-road market.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln
Chafee recently launched an initiative to lead by example, aggressively transitioning
the state fleet away from conventional vehicles and fuels. In February, the state
issued a request for proposal (RFP) for a master price contract for B20. Once
in place, the contract will lock in biodiesel prices, not only for state vehicles,
but also for fleets operated by municipalities and quasi-state agencies, such
as the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority and T. F. Green Airport.
Carolina Bus Fleet Pairs Biodiesel with
Rider, the Concord Kannapolis, North
Carolina transit system, will join a growing number of public transit systems
that are turning to diesel-electric hybrids. Rider is adding eight new biodiesel-powered
diesel-electric hybrid buses to its fleet this month. These new buses are expected
to reduce emissions and save money on fuel and maintenance.
L.J. Weslowski, Rider
transit manager, anticipates emissions reductions of 25-35 percent, compared to
conventional diesel-powered buses. He says the amount of fuel savings will vary
-- from about 8 percent up to 40 percent -- depending on the operating environment.
Further, Wesowski anticipates fuel savings of about $40,000-$50,000 per year.
“If the fuel costs were
to increase like they have over the last five years, then the savings will be greater,” he adds.
Another benefit of using
hybrids is reduced maintenance. “Part of the battery regeneration comes from
the braking system so there’s a reduction in the amount of brake pad wear,” Weslowski said.
Award Showcase: Innovation Award
The National Biodiesel Board honored
General Motors with the "Eye on Biodiesel" Innovation Award for its 2014 Chevrolet
Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel during the 2014 Biodiesel Conference & Expo in San Diego in January.
General Motors continues
to be a leading biodiesel supporter among Original Equipment Manufacturers. This
year the company took another step forward introducing the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze
Clean Turbo Diesel – the first light-duty diesel passenger sedan in the U.S.
to be fully approved for use with B20 biodiesel blends. The Cruze’s new ECOTEC
2.0L Turbocharged Diesel engine powered by ultra-low sulfur biodiesel blends provides
tailpipe emissions as clean as or cleaner than natural gas and gasoline, while
providing superior performance and industry-leading fuel economy of over 46 MPG
highway. The Chevy Cruze is the cleanest diesel passenger car model ever produced
by General Motors, and with the use of clean, renewable B20, it's also now the greenest.
B20 is approved for use in
all 2011 and newer model year GM diesel vehicles including the Cruze, Chevy Silverado,
GMC Sierra, Chevy Express and GMC Savanna. B20 capability is also offered as a
Special Equipment Option (SEO) for fleets for 2007 - 2010 model year versions
of the vehicles listed above.
This is the second in
a series of features highlighting the 2014 Eye on Biodiesel Award winners. Look
for more in next month's Biodiesel Bulletin.
Correction - March Issue
Extension Supports Bioheat® Industry Future”
– It was written in last month’s issue that the NORA checkoff amount
was 2 cents per gallon. The actual checkoff amount is $.002, or two tenths of a penny per gallon.