The U.S. is importing more biodiesel and renewable diesel than ever before. This report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) says in 2013, the U.S. imported 525 million gallons of the green fuels, compared to just 61 million gallons in 2012.
The strongest driver of the resurgence in U.S. biomass-based diesel demand was the increasing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) target. Both biodiesel and renewable diesel qualify for the biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel targets, as well as the overall RFS target. The total RFS target increased from 15.20 billion gallons in 2012 to 16.55 billion gallons in 2013. The biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels targets increased from 1.00 billion gallons to 1.28 billion gallons, and from 2.00 billion gallons to 2.75 billion gallons, respectively. Biomass-based diesel fuels have higher energy content compared with ethanol, and thus generate more Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits per gallon of fuel produced. In addition, renewable diesel meets the same American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards as petroleum diesel, and is thus not subject to the blending limits imposed on biodiesel.
The report says that domestic production could only partially offset increased U.S. biodiesel consumption. In addition, during the last four months of 2013, Argentine biodiesel was locked out of Europe in that continuing trade dispute, making the South Americans’ fuel available for U.S. consumption.