Massachusetts Enacts Advanced Biofuels Bill

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation last week that would make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to exempt cellulosic ethanol from state gasoline taxes. The bill also requires diesel fuel and oil heat distributors to start adding biodiesel or renewable diesel to their fuel blends in 2010.

The legislation exempts cellulosic ethanol from the state’s gasoline excise tax based on the percentage of renewable fuel used. For example, the gasoline tax for a blend of E10 (10 percent cellulosic ethanol/90 percent petroleum) would be reduced by about 2.3 cents. The bill also requires that by July, 2010, all diesel transportation fuels and distillate heating oil blends contain 2 percent biodiesel, or other qualifying renewable diesel.

The bill then increases the biodiesel requirement by 1 percent a year to a cap in 2013, when all diesel transport and heating oil blends will have to contain 5 percent of the renewable fuel by volume. All qualifying fuels must achieve at least a 50 percent reduction of lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) over petroleum.

“The Legislature has taken another meaningful step toward comprehensive energy reform; one that will preserve our environment, ultimately drive down consumer energy costs and bolster the growing clean energy sector in Massachusetts. This bold piece of legislation represents the hard work of many diverse stakeholders and the future of energy consumption in the Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi (D-Boston).

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