ST. LOUIS — A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives could do much to increase the use of biodiesel in the U.S. commercial and private automobile fleet, according to a report on the Web site on July 9. Both the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) announced their support for the Energy Independence Act (H.R. 4652), which was introduced by Rep. Jim Nussle at the end of June. The bill includes incentives that would help spur the use of domestically produced biodiesel — a cleaner burning fuel made from renewable resources such as soybean oil. "Decades of energy policy aimed at keeping petroleum prices artificially low has resulted in providing an incentive for importing cheap oil," said National Biodiesel Board Executive Director Joe Jobe. "Imported petroleum has become the single largest component of our national trade deficit and created a security and foreign policy nightmare. Rep. Nussle's bill includes provisions that would help increase U.S. energy security and extend petroleum reserves, and we applaud him for that." Among the provisions in H.R. 4652 that would help to increase the use of biodiesel are:
  • Requiring federal agency fleet vehicles to use ethanol and biodiesel fuels when feasible.
  • Creating a Renewable Fuel Standard to require increasing use in motor fuels of renewable sources over the next eight years.
  • Permanently extending and expanding tax credits for electricity derived from sources such as wind, ethanol, and biodiesel.
  • Tax measures to promote vehicles that use alternative fuels and clean engines. Nussle said his energy package would build a firm foundation for energy independence by making a solid, national commitment to developing renewable resources. Biodiesel works in any diesel engine with few or no modifications. It can be used in its pure form (B100), or blended with petroleum diesel at any level — most commonly 20 percent (B20). According to NBB, more than 400 major fleets use biodiesel commercially nationwide. More than 200 retail filling stations also make biodiesel available to the public, and more than 1,000 petroleum distributors carry it nationwide.