Benefits of Biodiesel
Environmental Benefits of BioDiesel
Biodiesel is the first and only alternative fuel to have a complete evaluation of emission results and potential health effects submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act Section 211(b). These programs include the most stringent emissions testing protocols ever required by the EPA for certification of fuels or fuel additives. The data gathered complete the most thorough inventory of the environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow. (National Biodiesel Board) The use of biodiesel reduces air toxins, carbon monoxide, soot, small particles, and hydrocarbon emissions. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75%.
Biodiesel contains virtually no sulfur or aromatics, and use of biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine results in substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. A U.S. Department of Energy study showed that the production and use of biodiesel, compared to petroleum diesel, resulted in a 78.5% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, biodiesel has a positive energy balance. For every unit of energy needed to produce a gallon of biodiesel, over 4 units of energy are gained.
Energy Security Benefits of BioDiesel
With agricultural commodity prices approaching record lows, and petroleum prices approaching record highs, it is clear that more can be done to utilize domestic surpluses of vegetable oils while enhancing our energy security. Because biodiesel can be manufactured using existing industrial production capacity, and used with conventional equipment, it provides substantial opportunity for immediately addressing our energy security issues. Since it is produced domestically, it helps support American economy. When biodiesel is created sustainably and used with a community-based model 90 cents of every dollar stays in the community.
The United States uses approximately 20 million barrels of oil a day (or 840,000,000 gallons), more than half of which is imported. By 2025 demand is expected to rise to 26 million barrels a day-with about 60% being imported. We spend $232 billion each year on oil from foreign governments. Because Biodieselis a domestically produced and sustainable product its availability will remain reliable and stable. It's use will not only help stretch existing petroleum supplies, it will help insure our energy independence from foreign oil.
If the true cost of using foreign oil were imposed on the price of imported fuel, renewable fuels, such as biodiesel, probably would be the most viable option. For instance, in 1996 it was estimated that the military costs of securing foreign oil was $57 billion annually. Foreign tax credits accounted for another estimated $4 billion annually and environmental costs were estimated at $45 per barrel. For every billion dollars spent on foreign oil, America lost 10,000-25,000 jobs. (National Biodiesel Board)
Economic Benefits of BioDiesel
The biodiesel industry has contributed significantly to the domestic economy. The 51,893 jobs that are currently supported by the US biodiesel industry reflect the beginning of the industry's potential to create jobs and economic growth in the US economy. Biodiesel has added $4.287 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and has the potential to support more than 78,000 jobs by 2012.
Two main advantages of the biodiesel industry are the regional and local sourcing and control. In other words, the materials for production are done at a local level and money is fed back into the communities that are served by the producers and distributors. As production infrastructure is developed this will be even more apparent.
Looking at a more global perspective, the United States holds 3% of the world's oil reserves and uses 25% of the oil produced in the world. Today, we are spending $100 billion a year on importation of crude oil. The trade deficits are growing each day. We are now the biggest borrower in the world and our trade deficits are out of balance. One of the solutions to this problem is biodiesel. Increased production will impact the agricultural sector and help our waste management. The money influx into communities will cause service industries to grow resulting in job creation. It will help rebalance our trade deficit by keeping a large portion of that $100 billion per year here at home.
Quality Benefits of BioDiesel
Biodiesel is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the EPA and meets clean diesel standards established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). B100 (100 percent biodiesel) has been designated as an alternative fuel by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The National Biodiesel Board, the trade association for the biodiesel industry, has formed the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission (NBAC) to audit fuel producers and marketers in order to enforce fuel quality standards in the US.
EPAct Benefits of BioDiesel
Effective November 1998, Congress approved the use of biodiesel as an Energy
Policy Act (EPAct) compliance strategy. The legislation allows EPAct-covered
fleets (federal, state and public utility fleets) to meet their alternative fuel
vehicle purchase requirements simply by buying 450 gallons of pure biodiesel and
burning it in new or existing diesel vehicles in at least a 20% blend with
diesel fuel. The Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture have confirmed that the biodiesel option is the least-cost
alternative fuel option for meeting the Federal government's EPAct compliance
requirements. Because it works with existing diesel engines, biodiesel offers an
immediate and seamless way to transition existing diesel vehicles into a cleaner