Texas issues new guidelines facilitating greater biodiesel use

By Ron Kotrba | December 23, 2011

Last week the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality concluded that air quality is simply not a reason for concern regarding biodiesel volumes associated with federally required use. The federal renewable fuel standard (RFS2) calls for minimum amounts of renewable fuel use across the country, and after reviewing the rule and how biodiesel works with the state’s TxLED (Texas Low Emission Diesel) program as well as biodiesel emissions, TCEQ introduced new guidelines that allow biodiesel to be added to any compliant fuel, at any ratio. The change removes the requirement to use additional additives with biodiesel and reduces reporting requirements for blenders that have stymied biodiesel sales and use in the state’s nonattainment zones for years.

“Texas has embraced the importance of biodiesel’s role to create jobs and support America’s energy independence,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe. “This move recognizes biodiesel as the only commercial-scale advanced biofuel available nationwide and reflects biodiesel’s clean air benefits.”

Martin D. Beirne, III, president and CEO of Green Earth Fuels of Houston LLC, a Texas-based producer, said, “Our production facility in Houston is poised to meet the growth in demand in the market, and we anticipate customers will be seeing more biodiesel blends available at the pumps.”

Besides reducing the need for imported petroleum products, biodiesel is exempt from excise tax in Texas, even when it is used in a blend with diesel. Recent changes in the tax code simplify the regulations for biodiesel sales. This helps to encourage biodiesel in the competitive market.

Jon Scharingson, director, sales and marketing for Texas producer Renewable Energy Group, said, “Texas is known for allowing the markets to decide winners. These guidelines will open the biodiesel market in Texas to petroleum distributors and refiners who can make biodiesel more widely available to consumers. These changes will make Texas a more favorable market for meeting the RFS2 requirements, which is good for the local economy and supports green collar jobs.”


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