Public Policy Benefits and Policy Issues
Biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel being produced on a commercial scale nationwide, and there are compelling U.S. public policy benefits for increasing its use and production through strong domestic energy policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard and the biodiesel tax incentive. With less than a decade of commercial-scale production, biodiesel remains a young, maturing industry that needs incentives and support to break into a market that has been dominated by the global petroleum industry for decades. Please visit our Fueling Action page to learn more about our federal priorities and how you can get involved.
The Biodiesel Industry is Creating Jobs and Making a Positive Contribution to the Economy: The biodiesel industry has plants in nearly every state in the nation using an increasingly diverse mix of feedstocks, and the industry’s growth has helped diversify our energy supply while creating jobs and economic activity. Last year, the industry’s record production of nearly 1.8 billion gallons supported more than 62,000 jobs across the economy along with billions of dollars in economic activity, household income and tax revenues.
Biodiesel Reduces our Dependence on Foreign Oil: Biodiesel is diversifying our fuel supplies and limiting our exposure to unstable global oil markets that weaken our economy and national security. Biodiesel's continued growth will give consumers more options and help expand domestic refining capacity to reduce our reliance on imported fuels. The 4.6 billion gallons of biodiesel produced in the U.S. since 2005 have displaced an equivalent amount of imported diesel fuel with a clean-burning, efficient fuel that according to the EPA reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 86 percent compared to petroleum diesel fuel.
Biodiesel is Good for the Environment: Biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel being produced on a commercial scale across the country. According to the EPA, biodiesel reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared to petroleum diesel. With some 4.6 billion gallons used since 2005, biodiesel has reduced lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 74 billion pounds – the same impact as removing 5.4 million passenger vehicles from America’s roadways.
Biodiesel Reduces Diesel Emissions: Tailpipe emissions from traditional diesel – primarily from older trucking fleets, school buses and other vehicles – are a significant health and air quality concern. In a recent update to its National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment, EPA cited diesel exhaust as one of the nation’s most dangerous pollutants, saying it is “among the substances that may pose the greatest risk to the U.S. population.” Thousands of trucks and buses hit the road every day burning traditional diesel fuel. Substituting higher amounts of biodiesel for traditional diesel fuel is the simplest, most effective way to immediately improve emissions.
Biodiesel’s Growth Is Stimulating New Feedstocks and Technology: The growth of the biodiesel industry is stimulating new demand for fats and oils, which is leading to breakthroughs in feedstock development and technologies. Algae, camelina and pennycress are among the promising next-generation feedstocks that could help meet our nation’s energy demands in the future.
Biodiesel is Lowering Consumer Prices: In recent years, with help from the RFS and the biodiesel tax incentive, biodiesel could be purchased by fuel distributors at a lower price than petroleum diesel, resulting in estimated consumer savings of $120 million. “This past year the Navy purchased a B20 blend (80 percent conventional/20 percent biodiesel) for the steam plant at the St. Julien's Creek Annex, near Norfolk, VA. The cost of the B20 is 13 cents per gallon less expensive than conventional fuel, and is projected to save the facility approximately $30,000 over the 2012-2013 heating season.” - Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Testimony Before U.S. House Armed Forced Committee, April 16, 2013