Helped by federal mandates, U.S. biodiesel production hit a record level in May. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports May’s numbers reached 111 million gallons. The agency also said production in the first five months of 2013 was 449 million gallons, up 17 million gallons from the same period last year.
There were 3,427 million pounds of feedstocks consumed for biodiesel production during the period from January-May 2013, giving a ratio of 7.6 pounds of feedstock per gallon of biodiesel produced. Of the total biodiesel feedstocks, 1,838 million pounds (about 54%) were soybean oil.
The use of biodiesel as a motor fuel is supported by federal mandates for biodiesel blending under the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Under this program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets annual targets for the use of biodiesel and other biofuel categories, such as advanced and total biofuels, which can also be satisfied through additional biodiesel use. Biodiesel blenders are also currently eligible for a federal tax credit of $1 per gallon blended.
There are 116 active biodiesel plants in the U.S. able to crank out 2.2 billion gallons per year.