More Iowa fuel retailers carrying higher blends of biodiesel

By The Iowa Biodiesel Board | April 04, 2017

A new state government report shows more than half of Iowa’s fuel retailers carried biodiesel in 2016, increasing six percent over 2015. Higher blends are also becoming the norm. Iowa’s proactive state policies have played a crucial role in the growth, helping maintain the state’s position as the No. 1 producer.

The Iowa Department of Revenue released the 2016 Retailers Fuel Gallons Annual Report this month. The report shows during 2016, the amount of on-road biodiesel sold equaled 344.8 million gallons, or 54.7 percent of total on-road diesel fuel sales reported. This is up from 308 million gallons, or 48.7 percent of total on-road (clear) diesel fuel sales the previous year.

Also of significance, the report showed twice as many gallons of 11 to 20 percent biodiesel (B11-B20) were sold than of lower blends. In addition, 471 on-road retailers now carry biodiesel in Iowa, up from 405 in 2015.

“These milestones at the retail level show that Iowa’s progressive biofuels policies are working as intended to increase production and consumption,” said Grant Kimberley, Iowa Biodiesel Board executive director. “This industry is a powerful economic driver, benefiting the rural economy and consumers alike.”

In 2006 the Iowa General Assembly passed legislation establishing a goal that 25 percent of all petroleum used in the formulation of gasoline be replaced by biofuels by the year 2020. Using the state’s formula, during 2016, biofuels accounted for 12.2 percent of Iowa retail motor fuel sales.

Kimberley noted there is continued instability at the federal level with the Renewable Fuel Standard, which affects the future of both ethanol and biodiesel. The federal tax incentives for biofuels have also lapsed, while imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia continue to undermine U.S. production.

“Iowa’s biofuel producers need state tax credits to stay in place now more than ever to remain competitive,” Kimberley said. “The states with the most proactive, comprehensive policies will reap the greatest economic benefits of biofuels.”

In 2016, Iowa’s biodiesel plants produced about 305 million gallons of biodiesel—a record. According to a study by ABF Economics, biodiesel activity generated about 3,800 full-time equivalent jobs.

Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel made from agricultural byproducts and coproducts, such as soybean oil. The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.

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