Biodiesel meets the moment

These days, filling your diesel tank and watching the price creep up as the gallons go by can be painful. It’s easy to point fingers, but solutions can be found right in our backyard – with biodiesel and renewable diesel.

“Biodiesel and renewable diesel meet more than six percent of the nation’s need for diesel fuel, and the industry increased production and supply even during the economic emergency of the last few years,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for Clean Fuels Alliance America.

According to a study released on May 9 by Clean Fuels Alliance America titled, “The Offsetting Impact of Expanded Biomass Based Diesel Production on Diesel Prices,” prepared by World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services (WAEES), U.S. production of biodiesel and renewable diesel consistently reduces fuel prices by increasing supply.

“Today’s study shows that U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel production generates a 4 percent decrease in the price of diesel fuel,” said Kovarik. “At today’s national average price for diesel fuel, the savings is equal to about 22 cents per gallon. That price benefit flows through the entire economy. Diesel fuel keeps essential items, like food and commodities, as well as other retail goods moving across the country.”

These economic benefits come as no surprise to Minnesota Soybean, which celebrated 20 years of the B2 minimum blending requirement becoming law. Since 2002, the biodiesel industry has taken off and Minnesota soybean leaders have overcome several obstacles thrown their way.

“If it wasn’t for the Minnesota checkoff, we wouldn’t have a biofuels industry,” Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council Gene Stoel told Soybean Business Magazine. “Minnesota soybean farmers were the ones who proved biodiesel works.”

Biodiesel’s economic benefits don’t end with lowering the price at the pumps; it’s helping to improve farmer profitability and grow the economy. About $1.7 billion of Minnesota’s GDP comes from the biodiesel industry and biodiesel supports nearly 5,400 jobs in the state and 65,000 jobs in the U.S. Broken down, every 100 million gallons of production supports 3,200 jobs and about 13% of the value of each U.S. bushel of soybeans.

Aside from economic benefits, the biodiesel industry helps protect the environment – a growing concern in today’s world. Studies show that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% and displaces roughly 130 million gallons of petroleum diesel in Minnesota each year. Using a B20 blend in the summer and a B5 blend in the winter equates to removing the emissions from approximately 245,000 vehicles from state roads every year.

With the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association advocating with legislative leaders and MSR&PC investing checkoff dollars to inform producers and improve infrastructure, Minnesota continues to be a national leader in the biodiesel movement.

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