The U.S. biodiesel industry smashed previous record production numbers with an estimated 1.7 billion gallons of biodiesel produced in 2013. According to an economic study commissioned by the National Biodiesel Board and conducted by LMC International, a global economic research firm, this record production supported more than 62,000 jobs and $2.6 billion in wages this year alone.
The study looked at three production scenarios for 2014 to help provide data to the EPA on proposed 2014 renewable fuel standard (RFS) volumes. First, under status quo production of 1.7 billion gallons, supported employment would remain at 62,200 jobs with supported wages of $2.6 billion and total economic impact of nearly $16.8 billion. If production were to fall back to 1.28 billion gallons, the number of supported jobs would drop to 54,500, with supported wages falling below $2.3 billion and total economic impact reduced to $12.2 billion. A third analysis looks at a high-volume scenario, consistent with third-and fourth-quarter volumes averaging roughly 170 million gallons, or an annualized rate of 2 billion gallons. It found that the number of supported jobs would rise to 66,600, supporting wages of nearly $2.8 billion and total economic impact of more than $20 billion.
“The difference between 1.28 and 2 billion gallons in 2014 could result in a swing of 12,000 jobs supported, $500 million in wages paid, and $7.8 billion in total economic impact,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at NBB. “This is further evidence that a growing biodiesel industry and a strong renewable fuel standard are good for the economy. Biodiesel is a true RFS success story, and we should continue that momentum with modest growth that will create even more jobs in 2014.”
Biodiesel is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an advanced biofuel—meaning the EPA has determined that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. The industry has exceeded RFS requirements in every year of the program, producing more than 1 billion gallons annually since 2011.