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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. biodiesel industry reached a new production record for the first half of 2013 and is on pace to have its best year ever, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Biodiesel refiners produced more than 636 million gallons nationwide through the end of June, the EPA reported. That puts the industry on pace to break the previous annual biodiesel production record of roughly 1.1 billion gallons, and would significantly exceed this year's volume requirement under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
"This is further proof that policies like the RFS are delivering," said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, the U.S. biodiesel trade association. "This growth means good-paying jobs, fewer harmful emissions and a diversified fuel market that is helping consumers."
Biodiesel is made from a diverse mix of resources including soybean oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats. It is the only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel with commercial-scale production nationwide, and the first to reach 1 billion gallons of annual production, according to the National Biodiesel Board.
In 2011, production reached nearly 1.1 billion gallons. It remained flat at that level in 2012 after Congress allowed the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive to expire, the association noted.
"Just this week, gas prices were the third highest on record, even as we're drilling more and more oil here at home," Steckel said. "It just shows that we need alternatives if we're going to escape this cycle of price spikes in the oil markets. The American people understand that we need to diversify and adopt an all-of-the-above energy approach, and we need strong domestic energy policy to do that."
Biodiesel volumes are reported under the Biomass-based Diesel category under the RFS, which also includes renewable diesel, a similar diesel alternative.