Biodiesel tax credit needs immediate attention

With the coming of the New Year came the passing of the biodiesel tax credit. What’s the big deal, you say? Well, companies, not to mention farmers and biodiesel producers, are taking a bit hit right now with the expiration of the $1/gallon credit.

sdc12054.JPGAccording to NAFA Fleet Management Association, the expiration of the credit has resulted in biodiesel costing more than petroleum-based diesel fuel. While that doesn’t sound like a big issue, it is if you’re fleet that runs on biodiesel. Your cost of fuel just rose 20% or more. That kind of price increase will only drive cost-conscious fleets away from the fuel.

“President Obama spoke of the need for America to be the leader in developing new energy sources and applications,” said NAFA’s executive director, Phil Russo, CAE. “This is a chance for Washington to act on the President’s directive and make biodiesel a realistic alternative that will not only help clean our air, but stimulate American businesses. NAFA members need to let their elected officials know we are holding them accountable for delivering on the President’s promise.”

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB), back in December, released a study that concluded that the loss of the credit could result in a “major job loss” and “decreased demand for soybean oil and lower soybean prices leading to a negative impact on farm income” and “lost tax revenue for states and local governments” as biodiesel plants are idled due to decreased demand.

“Since it was enacted in 2004, the biodiesel tax incentive has allowed the nation to reap the economic, energy security and environmental benefits associated with commercial scale production and use of biodiesel,” said Manning Feraci, vp of federal affairs for the NBB in the report. “Allowing the credit to lapse will compound the already daunting challenges facing the industry and will cost the nation another 23,000 jobs in addition to the 29,000 jobs that were shed in 2009.”

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to extend the credit, but the Senate has yet to act. The House bill is H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009.

We need the Senate to pass this important legislation lest we lose momentum on the progress we’ve made as a country, and industry, to be greener and less dependent on foreign oil interests.

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