Legislation Could Offer a U.S. Biodiesel Boost

A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives could do much to increase the use of biodiesel in the U.S. commercial and private automobile fleet. Both the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) announced their support for the Energy Independence Act (H.R. 4652), which was introduced by Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA) at the end of June.

St. Louis, Missouri – July 9, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives could do much to increase the use of biodiesel in the U.S. commercial and private automobile fleet. Both the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) announced their support for the Energy Independence Act (H.R. 4652), which was introduced by Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA) at the end of June. The bill includes incentives that would help spur the use of domestically produced biodiesel — a cleaner burning fuel made from renewable resources such as soybean oil. “Decades of energy policy aimed at keeping petroleum prices artificially low has resulted in providing an incentive for importing cheap oil,” said National Biodiesel Board Executive Director Joe Jobe. “Imported petroleum has become the single largest component of our national trade deficit and created a security and foreign policy nightmare. Rep. Nussle’s bill includes important provisions that would help increase U.S. energy security and extend petroleum reserves, and we applaud him for that.” Among the provisions in H.R. 4652 that would help to increase the use of biodiesel are: – Creating a Renewable Fuel Standard to require increasing use in motor fuels of renewable sources over the next eight years. – Requiring federal agency fleet vehicles to use ethanol and biodiesel fuels when feasible. – Permanently extending and expanding tax credits for electricity derived from sources such as wind, ethanol and biodiesel. – Tax measures to promote vehicles that use alternative fuels and clean engines. Nussle said his energy package would build a firm foundation for energy independence by making a solid, national commitment to developing renewable resources. “Setting the stage for America to take care of its own needs down the road is the only way to ensure our families will be less vulnerable to the decisions of oil traders around the world,” Nussle said. Biodiesel works in any diesel engine with few or no modifications. It can be used in its pure form (B100), or blended with petroleum diesel at any level — most commonly 20 percent (B20). According to NBB, more than 400 major fleets use biodiesel commercially nationwide. More than 200 retail filling stations also make biodiesel available to the public, and more than a thousand petroleum distributors carry it nationwide. NBB also said that Biodiesel has the highest energy balance of any fuel. A full lifecycle emissions study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture found that for every unit of fossil energy needed to make biodiesel, 3.2 units of energy are gained. In contrast, for every unit of fossil resources to produce petroleum diesel, only .88 units of energy are gained. And of course, the ASA, which represents the many farmers who contribute to biodiesel through soybean production, is a major supporter of the bill. “We commend Representative Nussle for his show of support for soybean farmers and his leadership to put this important issue before the House of Representatives,” said ASA President Ron Heck, a soybean producer from Perry, Iowa. “The Senate has already passed three bills that include biodiesel legislation, and inclusion of biodiesel legislation in the Energy Independence Act is a positive step toward passage of legislation in both houses.” Sen. Charles Grassley, also a Republican from Iowa, has championed a biodiesel tax incentive at the federal level.
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