The U.S. biodiesel industry set a production record in 2011 but may not repeat this year, as a key, $1-per-gallon tax credit has again been allowed to expire.
According to the National Biodiesel Board, the industry saw “a remarkable turnaround” in 2011 as Congress reinstated the credit following a one-year lapse in 2010. “When the credit lapsed, dozens of plants shut down and thousands of jobs were lost as 2010 production plummeted to about 315 million gallons, the lowest level since 2006,” NBB said.
Looking now at a repeat, “We’re disappointed,” federal affairs Anne Steckel said in a December 21 release. “Jobs and the economy are supposed to be the top priority in Washington, yet Congress has left thousands of workers in limbo heading into the holidays by failing to extend this tax incentive. It’s a missed opportunity,” Steckel said. “We are urging Congress to pass an extension immediately… to limit the economic damage.”
NBB noted the next day that, according to U.S. EPA tallies, nearly 108 million gallons of biomass-based diesel was sold during the month of November, continuing a record year (F&F, Dec. 12). The total through November was 908 million gallons. The previous annual record for biodiesel production was 690 million gallons in 2008.