US biodiesel production, import/export data for 2014

Details from the EIA's 2014 U.S. biodiesel production and feedstock survey results, and parsing out the year's import/export data compared to 2013
By Ron Kotrba | March 09, 2015

On March 6, after significant delay, the Energy Information Administration issued results from its Form EIA-22M Monthly Biodiesel Production Survey for the months of August through December and its domestic biodiesel production tallies for the full year.

The U.S. biodiesel industry produced 1.27 billion gallons in 2014, according to the EIA’s survey results. This compares to the EIA’s figures of 1.36 billion gallons for 2013.

The U.S. biodiesel industry used roughly 4.8 billion pounds of soybean oil in 2014, according to the survey data. The second most used feedstock was yellow grease, coming in at more than 1.07 billion pounds for the year. This was followed by canola oil at 1.05 billion pounds, distillers corn oil at 970 million pounds, white grease at 427 million pounds and tallow at 355 million pounds.

The U.S. EPA’s woefully late issuance of volume requirements under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) and a lapsed $1 per gallon federal tax credit have led to major market uncertainty, causing the reduction in domestic biodiesel production.

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The EIA also released its import and export data for 2014. This data is much less easy to find on EIA’s website and took time to parse and compile.

More than 212 million gallons of biodiesel was imported into the U.S. in 2014, down considerably from 2013 import volumes of more than 342 million gallons. The top biodiesel exporting countries to U.S. ports in 2014 were Argentina, Canada and Indonesia.

Biodiesel imports from Argentina jumped from roughly 3 million gallons in October to just under 14.2 million gallons in November and 14.7 million gallons in December. Imports from Argentina are expected to grow considerably in 2015 due to EPA’s January decision to allow Argentine biodiesel producers an alternative feedstock tracking plan under the RFS.

Biodiesel imports from Indonesia jumped from 4.6 million gallons in September to 16.6 million gallons in November.

U.S. biodiesel exports for 2014 came in at just under 83 million gallons, down sharply from 2013 export volumes of more than 196 million gallons. Canada was the top recipient of U.S. biodiesel last year.