The Senate Finance Committee included a biodiesel tax incentive as part of its package of tax provisions promoting American energy security.

It's the first federal tax break ever offered to biodiesel, and will help level the playing field for the domestically produced renewable fuel, according to the National Biodiesel Board.

The tax provision will probably be included in the comprehensive energy package that the Senate was expected to begin debating at press time.

The legislation would give a 1¢ reduction in the excise tax for every 1% of biodiesel blended into standard diesel fuel — up to 20% total content. It would be in effect for three years.