The National Biodiesel Board wants to remind Americans as they get on the road for the long, Memorial Day Weekend, that biofuels… biodiesel, in particular… are helping keep the price of a gallon of fuel from carving out an even larger portion of your wallet.
The NBB cites new information from the International Energy Agency that says that, globally, biofuels are replacing a million barrels of crude oil a day… more than $130 million daily. And commodity analysts say gas prices would be about 15 percent higher if not for the green fuels.
The real costs for fuels, according to this NBB release, are rising crude oil prices and restricted supplies; tight refining capacity; increasing transportation costs of hauling petroleum-based products; and higher federal excise taxes on diesel fuel compared to gasoline:
Biodiesel is uniquely positioned to offset all of these costs in the following ways:
* As a drop-in replacement for diesel fuel, biodiesel blends can extend our diesel fuel supply. If we replaced 5 percent of our on-road petroleum diesel fuel with biodiesel, this would replace about 1.85 billion gallons of diesel fuel a year, or the entire amount of diesel fuel currently refined from crude oil imported from Iraq.
* Biodiesel provides additional U.S. refining capacity. The U.S. biodiesel industry is currently equipped with more than 2 billion gallons of installed production capacity from 171 plants across 40 states. This wide geographic spread of biodiesel production facilities helps to bolster our national energy security, as well as soften the blow of negative events impacting the existing oil refining industry, such as the Gulf of Mexico hurricanes that caused diesel prices to soar in 2005.
* Biodiesel is produced throughout the U.S. and can be used locally, helping to lower transportation costs. With nearly 3,400 biodiesel retailers and distributors located in all 50 states and in close proximity to biodiesel producers, consumers can benefit from lower transportation costs to move the fuel from the producer to the retail pump.
* Biodiesel Improves the performance of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel (ULSD) without the need for costly lubricity additives. The removal of sulfur from ULSD fuel to meet federal mandates results in much lower lubricity values for the ULSD fuel, potentially causing excess wear and tear on engines. However, the use of biodiesel even in blends as low as B2 (2% biodiesel blended with 98% petroleum diesel) completely restores that lost lubricity and improves engine life and performance.
* The Federal Excise Tax Credit for Biodiesel helps make biodiesel blends more cost competitive. This tax credit provides a $1 per gallon incentive to biodiesel blenders, helping to bring the cost of biodiesel to consumers in line with, or in some markets lower than, the cost of diesel fuel.
The NBB adds that last year, American biodiesel producers cranked out 500 million gallons. That means 20 million gallons of petroleum didn’t have to be imported. In addition, the biodiesel industry has created more than 21,000 new jobs nationwide and added $4.1 billion dollars to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That’s on top of the greenhouse gases biodiesel saves… reducing lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 78%, while producing 3.5 units of energy for every 1 unit of energy it takes to make the fuel.