NBB's education efforts ramped up by USDA

By | October 14, 2008
The National Biodiesel Board has been named a primary recipient of the USDA Biodiesel Education Program grant. The 2008 Farm Bill authorized the extension of the five-year program, which began in 2003. The NBB will continue to build upon its accomplishments from the first program.

The Biodiesel Education Program provides a valuable opportunity to help steer America away from foreign oil and toward American agriculture as a flourishing source of energy. Five years ago, as an original recipient of the program, the NBB set out to achieve increased availability, greater original equipment manufacturer (OEM) support and broader public awareness. All of these goals were accomplished, as seen in the executive summary under "Programs" on www. biodiesel.org/usda.

In 2003, the U.S. biodiesel industry sold 20 million gallons of pure biodiesel. In 2007, that number had increased by 2,400 percent to 500 million gallons. Widespread availability of biodiesel improved dramatically, thanks in large part to the NBB's petroleum outreach program. The number of distributors carrying biodiesel grew from 800 to 1,500. Retailers carrying biodiesel grew from 200 to 1,100. Further, several major OEMs, such as Chrysler, New Holland and John Deere, announced approval of a 20 percent blend of biodiesel either across the board or in specified vehicle models.

Consumer research shows that awareness of biodiesel jumped significantly during the life of the USDA Biodiesel Education Program. The first survey in 2004 found that 27 percent of Americans were familiar with biodiesel. In January 2008, that number had jumped to 65 percent and today has increased further to 69 percent.

Under the new program, the NBB will focus on continuing to expand these efforts, as well as an aggressive feedstock development program, trucker outreach, diesel mechanics training and education, Fleet Fuel Quality Education and Quality Assurance Programs, and other areas where vital education is needed. The University of Idaho also received continued funding through the USDA program
 
 
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