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US biodiesel production more than 1 billion gallons in 2011

Over last year, more than one billion gallons of biodiesel was produced in the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says.

A total of 1.1 billion gallons was more than the predicted production estimates of 800 million gallons, which was the target set by the EPA’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

Previously, the most biodiesel the US had produced was in 2008, when 690 million gallons were fabricated.

‘We've been seeing a lot of stories about setbacks in the renewable energy sector recently, and I think our success in 2011 reflects the bigger picture reality, which is that strong energy policy is working to stimulate production of clean, American-made energy,’ says Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). ‘Specifically, our success clearly demonstrates that the biodiesel tax incentive and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are working just as congress envisioned. Our industry is creating jobs, reducing our dependence on imported fuel, and improving the environment.’

According to NBB estimates, the biodiesel industry in the US has created more than 39,000 jobs, contributing about $2.1 billion (€1.6 billion) in household income. The board also estimates that in the coming two years, more than 11,500 extra jobs could be created in the industry thanks to the extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.

‘Now is not the time to be second-guessing the RFS or eliminating the biodiesel tax incentive,’ Steckel says. ‘We're proving that the policies work, that American innovation and competitiveness can pull us away from our dangerous dependence on imported fuel. Just as President Obama said in his State of the Union last week, we need to stay the course to continue creating jobs and building America's energy capacity.’

The US congress extended the $1 per gallon tax credit at the end of 2010 as throughout that year production had fallen significantly and a number of plants had closed.

The tax incentive expired again at the end of last year but the industry is encouraging the government to reinstate it.

It also wants the federal government to raise the RFS to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013.