Biodiesel sales almost double in Iowa


April 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Figures from the Iowa Department of Revenue show the sale of biodiesel nearly doubled in Iowa from 2010 to 2011. The figures show sales of biodiesel went from seven-point-four (7.4) million gallons to 13-point-nine (13.9) million. Iowa Biodiesel Board executive director, Randy Olson, says he’s pleased to see the numbers which indicate drivers of the big rigs are using the product. “Reports and analysis suggest that truckstops along our interstate highway system are embracing the use of biodiesel. The economics have been very favorable for biodiesel in 2011,” Olson says. “Truck stop operators are clearly patriotic folks as are truckers, and the trucking industry have been strong supporters of biodiesel.”

Olson says federal tax incentives, the federal renewable fuel standard and the state tax credit have all helped biodiesel. He says there’s a (state) retailers credit in 2011 that incented blends of B-two or two-percent biodiesel at three-cents-per-gallon, and in 2012 retailers are incented four-and-a-half cents for blends of five-percent biodiesel, B-five. The figures show biodiesel makes up around 42-percent of all diesel sold at the retail level in Iowa. “Biodiesel would be normal petroleum diesel that’s blended with any percentage of renewable biodiesel,” Olson explains. “So biodiesel can be made from agricultural co-products like soybean oil, or animal fats, or even recycled restaurant greases. And any product that is made out of those renewable agriculture byproducts can be blended into diesel at any percentage.” 

Olson says the blended fuel works jus as well as the straight diesel. “Blends of biodiesel up to B-20 perform very comparably to petroleum diesel, and very importantly, it’s good for Iowa’s economy, it’s good for Iowa’s environment because it burns cleaner. And it’s good for our nation’s energy security. For every gallon of biodiesel we use, we import less foreign petroleum. And I think we all agree that’s a good idea,” Olson says. Iowa is home to 13 biodiesel plants that produced about 175 million gallons of biodiesel in 2011.