Senators Introduce Bill to Reinstate Biodiesel Tax Incentive
There has been some movement on the biodiesel tax incentive,
which expired on Dec. 31.
Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced
a bill on February 12 to extend the $1-per-gallon incentive for three years. The
Senators have championed this incentive for years, and the biodiesel industry
thanks them for again taking the lead on this important issue.
tax incentive has expired three times over the past five years, and each time
it has severely disrupted production," said Anne Steckel, NBB Vice President
of Federal Affairs. "By comparison, we know that at least $4 billion in incentives
encouraging domestic petroleum production are built into the tax code. We need
that same kind of stability for younger, cleaner industries like biodiesel and
renewable diesel to compete."
The tax incentive traditionally has been
passed as part of a package of other expired tax incentives, and that is the most
likely process again this year. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the new chairman of the
Senate Finance Committee, confirmed recently that the panel could vote in the
spring to extend a package of incentives that expired at the end of 2013.
supporters are encouraged to ask their members of Congress to push for extending
the expired biodiesel tax incentive. Please use the following contact information
and ask to speak to the legislative assistant who handles energy issues:
• Call the Senate switchboard,
202-224-3121 or the House, 202-225-3121 and ask for the appropriate office.
Or visit the Senate and House websites.
Continues – No Time to Let Up
While the formal comment period is over, the biodiesel
industry still needs to keep up the volume on advocacy around the Renewable Fuel
Standard (RFS). Last year, the EPA proposed scaling back the RFS, which requires
minimum volumes of renewable fuels to be blended into the fuel system. Specifically
for biodiesel, the EPA proposed setting the volume requirement at 1.28 billion
gallons – a sharp reduction from 2013's record production of nearly 1.8 billion
The biodiesel industry is asking the Administration to revise
the biodiesel proposal so that it is at least consistent with last year's production.
One way to help spread the message is to write a letter to the editor or op-ed
for your local newspaper or to call your members of Congress (using the above
contact instructions). NBB has compiled a sampling of press coverage on the biodiesel-RFS
issue here and encourages all biodiesel supporters to
look at it and consider submitting something to the local paper in your area.
For help please contact NBB's Washington office at 202-737-8801.
Supports Bioheat® Industry Future
The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) is celebrating
President Obama's signing into law their five year extension, which was included
as a provision in the Farm Bill. The heating oil industry has worked diligently
for several years to accomplish this goal, which will enable NORA to once again
assist the industry in moving forward and improving the product they provide to
NORA is a checkoff program that allows the industry to support and fund initiatives for heating oil businesses, technicians, and consumers. Heating oil retailers pay a .2 cent (two tenths of one penny) per gallon fee to the national organization to support a strong future for the industry as a whole. The federal checkoff program had been expired for the last four years.
One of the most important changes
to the NORA provision is its emphasis on Bioheat®, biodiesel blended with home
heating oil. The new bill encourages greater research on Bioheat with the goal
of moving up the percentages of biodiesel in heating oil industry-wide.
NORA was founded in 2000, the product was almost non-existent," said John Huber,
NORA CEO. "But through a partnership between NORA and the National Biodiesel
Board, we have moved this into a product used by nearly every heating oil retailer
at concentrations between 5 and 20 percent. We expect those percentages to continue
to grow as the biodiesel industry continues to provide a compelling product to
Five Oil Companies Record $93B Profit, Fight to Keep Incentives
A recent report from the Center for American Progress calls attention to the $93 Billion dollar profit recorded in 2013 for the five big oil companies: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell. Despite this staggering revenue, the industry is fighting to keep a number of tax breaks and is lobbying heavily against biofuel provisions of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
of these companies making $177,000 per minute in 2013, their profit is down nearly
27 percent from 2012 and a recent Domestic Fuel article points out that the
higher cost of oil production is likely the explanation the industry is using
to argue the need for their continued tax breaks.
The Domestic Fuel article
goes on to say "It would not be surprising," write Daniel Weiss and Miranda
Peterson, both with Center for American Progress, "if the big five oil companies
use their 2013 decline in profits as another excuse to pressure Congress to retain
their $2.4 billion-per-year tax breaks. The largest of these special provisions,"
they write, "allows these companies to qualify for the limitation on section
199 deduction attributable to oil, natural gas, or primary products, which will
cost taxpayers $14.4 billion over 10 years according to the Congressional Joint
Committee on Taxation. This particular tax break was enacted in 2004 and was designed
to encourage manufacturing to remain in the United States rather than move overseas.
It was not meant to apply to oil and natural gas production since the oil and
gas fields cannot be moved to another nation."
This comes as biodiesel
production is becoming cheaper, more energy efficient, and reducing more greenhouse
gases than ever before.
Video Great Resource for Education & Outreach
A new educational video produced by the North Carolina Solar Center's
Clean Transportation team highlights every aspect of the biodiesel industry from
production to use. The four minute video – "Biodiesel: Tomorrow's Transportation
Fuel Today" is designed to educate both fleets and individual consumers about
the benefits of America's Advanced Biofuel. National Biodiesel Board member
Patriot Biodiesel, located in Greensboro, NC, is featured in the video along with
Hill Oil, the owner of a service station in Lexington, NC that offers B20. The
North Carolina Department of Transportation – which uses about 7.5 million gallons
of B20 annually – is also highlighted.
The biodiesel industry is booming
in North Carolina with five biodiesel production facilities, nine additional distributors
and 23 retail service stations that are supplying the renewable fuel to fleets
and consumers across the state.
The North Carolina Solar Center,
as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances
a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support
for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. Click here to watch the video and feel free to
share with other stakeholders. For more information about the North Carolina Solar
Center visit the NCSC website.
Bright Side: Frigid Winter Means More Bioheat®
Record cold and snow across much of the country this
winter may not have been welcome by many, but it was certainly good news for the
Bioheat® industry. Although home heating oil and Bioheat® consumption statistics
have not yet been released for this winter, with furnaces running full tilt for
much of the season, it is fairly safe to assume that Bioheat® use increased this
On average, the oilheat industry distributes approximately 7 billion
gallons of home heating oil annually. If all oilheat included biodiesel blended
at 5 percent that would result in the use of 350 million gallons of biodiesel.
However, blends higher than 5 percent have been used in many markets, specifically
New York City where there is a consumer tax incentive to use up to 20 percent.
When those higher blend levels are taken into account, it is possible that 700+
million gallons of biodiesel could be used in home heating oil.
to the harsh winter, another factor working in favor of increased Bioheat® demand
is the Renewable Fuel Standard which made biodiesel available to blend with home
heating oil in all markets -- twenty-three states. Bioheat's momentum is expected
to continue with the help of the 2014 Bioheat® advertising campaign which was
launched in late January throughout much of New England. The campaign, which
runs through early March, includes a total of 3,989 radio and television spots,
which will result in over 36 million impressions. The ad campaign can be seen
Award Showcase: Inspiration Award
The U.S. Navy is among the fiercest champions of renewable
energy, knowing first-hand the entanglement of energy security and national security.
Yet the accompanying sustainability is far from an after thought. For Rear Admiral
Len Hering, Sr. (U.S. Navy, retired) it has always been a top priority. Hering
is a prominent military and civilian sustainability leader who was instrumental
in bringing B20 to naval bases. He was honored with the "Eye on Biodiesel"
Inspiration Award during the 2014 Biodiesel Conference & Expo in San Diego
In his 32 years of Navy service, Hering was known as a top
expert in base operations and facility support with an emphasis on sustainability.
His efforts included everything from renewable energy, including biodiesel, to
responsible water use, photovoltaic technology, and conservation. Within three
years, his team reduced energy consumption by nearly 42 percent, diverted 75 percent
of Navy waste from landfills and reduced water consumption by more than one billion
gallons, saving tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. President Bush awarded Hering
a 2005 Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management. Today he
serves as executive director of the California Center for Sustainable Energy.
Hering gave the keynote speech during the conference closing session where
he shared his adventure of leading meaningful change that has lasting impact.
Click here to listen to Hering's remarks.
is the first in a series of features highlighting the 2014 Eye on Biodiesel Award
winners. Look for more in next month's Biodiesel Bulletin.