U.S. biodiesel production has dropped from the late 2011 records when the industry exceeded 100 million gallons per month for five consecutive months and reached a peak of 160 million gallons in December.
Still, 135 million gallons of biodiesel were produced in January and February of this year according to figures released by the EPA, an increase over the same months last year when production totaled less than 80 million gallons.
The drop-off reflects lost momentum since Congress has allowed the biodiesel tax incentive to expire and the Obama Administration delayed finalizing next year’s biodiesel volume requirement under the Renewable Fuel Standard, according to Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).
“These are solid numbers that show the biodiesel industry is on pace to meet the 1 billion gallon RFS requirement this year, but they also reflect some of the missed opportunities for growth and jobs that we’ve seen with the loss of the tax credit and the continued uncertainty about next year’s RFS volume,” Steckel said. “With the tax credit and clear RFS growth in place, we think these numbers would be better.”
Last year, the biodiesel industry produced a record of nearly 1.1 billion gallons, supporting more than 39,000 jobs across the country and helping to reduce U.S. dependence on skyrocketing global petroleum prices.