The U.S. biodiesel industry broke the 1 billion gallon mark in 2012 for the second consecutive year, according to year-end production figures released Wednesday by the EPA. The total volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons was roughly flat over 2011 production, exceeding it by just 6 million gallons.
"These numbers reflect the ongoing growth and development of our industry and represent real jobs at plants across the country," said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, the industry trade association.
"Biodiesel continues to account for the vast majority of the nation's Advanced Biofuel production and is playing a significant role in diversifying our energy supplies with clean, American-made fuel."
The figures released Wednesday show that production for the month of December totaled just 59 million gallons, the lowest monthly volume of the year. The December total marked the close of a year-end slump in which biodiesel production dropped significantly as Congress failed to renew the biodiesel tax incentive. Congress ultimately renewed the $1-per-gallon incentive on New Year's Day as part of the "fiscal cliff" legislation.
"It's difficult not to wonder how much additional production and jobs could have been created if the biodiesel tax incentive had remained in place in 2012," Steckel said. "It was a missed opportunity that significantly hurt many producers. But we are pleased that Congress reinstated the tax credit earlier this month and we expect significant growth in 2013."
Biodiesel production is reported under the EPA's Biomass-based Diesel category in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). To view the figures, visit the EPA's website here. The EPA numbers show a total of just over 62 million gallons of Biomass-based Diesel for the month of December, but that figure includes several million gallons of renewable diesel production.
Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel that's produced on a commercial scale across the U.S. The U.S. biodiesel industry has plants in nearly every state in the country and supports more than 64,000 jobs nationwide.