‘These Numbers Reflect the Consequences of Policy Inaction
U.S. biodiesel consumption fell to 1.75 billion gallons in 2014, down slightly from nearly 1.8 billion gallons in 2013, the National Biodiesel Board reported Friday, citing figures from the U.S. EPA.
Blame the downturn on policy uncertainty in Washington “that destabilized the industry and caused many biodiesel plants to shut down or reduce production,” NBB says: the Obama administration failed to finalize biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard and Congress allowed the biodiesel tax incentive to lapse at the beginning of 2014.
“These numbers reflect the consequences of policy inaction,” NBB CEO Joe Jobe said in a release.
Could Have Been Worse
“The numbers would have been even lower had the EPA not signaled throughout the year that it will strengthen the RFS proposal and finalize it promptly,” Jobe said. “Companies can operate on faith for only so long. We have already seen many producers close their doors, and many others are struggling to stay open as we enter a New Year with continued uncertainty.”
“The most frustrating aspect is that this is completely unnecessary,” Jobe said. “This is an industry that should be growing, and that has proven it can expand with smart policies in place. Yet we have this paralysis in Washington. Biodiesel companies simply can’t plan for growth or hire new people with the kind of uncertainty we have now.”
‘Get Things Back on Track’
NBB notes that Congress allowed the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive to expire for “the fourth time in six years.” Congress reinstated the incentive late last year, covering 2014 but not 2015.
“We are calling on the Obama administration to get things back on track immediately by finalizing biodiesel RFS volumes that pave the way for stable growth in the coming years,” Jobe said. “Additionally, we are urging Congress to reinstate the biodiesel tax incentive now instead of procrastinating until the final days of the session.”
NBB 2015, the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, is talking place this week in Fort Worth, Texas.
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Source: National Biodiesel Board with Fleets & Fuels follow-up