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July 31, 2013

U.S. biodiesel production reached a record level in May 2013

graph of monthly U.S. biodiesel production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Biodiesel Production Report.

U.S. biodiesel production in May 2013 reached a record level of 111 million gallons, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on July 30.

Production came from 116 active biodiesel plants with operable capacity of 2.2 billion gallons per year. Production for the first five months of 2013 was 449 million gallons, an increase of 17 million gallons from the same period in 2012. There were 3,427 million pounds of feedstocks consumed for biodiesel production during the period from January-May 2013, giving a ratio of 7.6 pounds of feedstock per gallon of biodiesel produced. Of the total biodiesel feedstocks, 1,838 million pounds (about 54%) were soybean oil.

The use of biodiesel as a motor fuel is supported by federal mandates for biodiesel blending under the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Under this program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets annual targets for the use of biodiesel and other biofuel categories, such as advanced and total biofuels, which can also be satisfied through additional biodiesel use. Biodiesel blenders are also currently eligible for a federal tax credit of $1 per gallon blended.

Most biodiesel fuel is blended with diesel fuel derived from petroleum and is used in the transportation sector. Biodiesel accounted for less than 2% of U.S. distillate fuel oil product supplied (used as a proxy for consumption) of 3.9 million barrels per day during the first five months of 2013.