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US biodiesel production fuelled by tax incentive

US biodiesel production in the first half of 2011 has already surpassed the total for 2010, spurred by Congress' reinstatement of the biofuel tax incentive.

By Kari Williamson

In June alone, the industry produced 81 million gallons of biodiesel, and the total for 2011 is on track to reach at least 800m gallons compared to the 315m produced last year when the tax incentive was allowed to lapse.

The biodiesel industry is currently supporting more than 31,000 jobs and an annual income of almost US$1.7 billion.

“We've dramatically increased production and doubled our number of employees at a time when many industries are shrinking or treading water,” says Ben Wootton, Owner of Keystone Biofuels in Camp Hill, PA.

“It's like night and day from 2010. I think that's a testament to biodiesel's staying power as an advanced biofuel and also to strong Federal policy. We're a young industry, and we wouldn't be where we are today without the tax incentive – and a lot more people would be standing in the unemployment line.”

Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, adds: “Policy makers should take a look at our experience over the last couple of years. It's a textbook case in how sound energy policy equates to sound economic policy. Congress should not allow the biodiesel tax incentive to expire again at the end of this year. In this kind of economy, we need every tool we have.”

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Bioenergy  •  Policy, investment and markets