U.S. biodiesel production officially topped one billion gallons in 2011, according to final year-end numbers released by the Environmental Protection Agency today.
The total volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons is by far a record for the industry and easily exceeded the 800 million gallon target required under the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The previous record for biodiesel production was about 690 million gallons in 2008.
National Biodiesel Board (NBB) vice president of federal affairs Anne Steckel says the milestone demonstrates that the biodiesel tax incentive and the Renewable Fuel Standard are working just as Congress intended. “Now is not the time to be second-guessing the RFS or eliminating the biodiesel tax incentive,” said Steckel. “We’re proving that the policies work, that American innovation and competitiveness can pull us away from our dangerous dependence on imported fuel. Just as President Obama said in his State of the Union this week, we need to stay the course to continue creating jobs and building America’s energy capacity.”
The biodiesel industry’s success in 2011 comes after Congress reinstated the fuel’s $1-per-gallon tax credit in December 2010 and as the EPA’s RFS program for biodiesel completed its first full year of implementation. Without those policies in place in 2010, production dropped dramatically as dozens of plants shuttered and thousands of people lost jobs.