The American Soybean Association (ASA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) applauded the Senate’s passage of a bill that includes a tax incentive designed to encourage consumers to use biodiesel. Last night, the Senate passed S. 1637, repealing the Foreign Sales Corporation/Extraterritorial Income (FSC/ETI) exclusion. Authored by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the measure includes a federal excise tax credit for biodiesel, a cleaner-burning alternative to petroleum diesel made from renewable resources like soybeans grown here in the U.S.

"It makes sense to use the tax code to develop alternative energy," Grassley said. "Cutting taxes is an effective way to encourage positive, environmentally conscious ways to produce electricity and fuel. This is a good, green energy tax package. Anyone who's pumped gas lately will appreciate alternative fuel incentives."

"We can’t thank Senator Grassley enough for his commitment to biodiesel," said ASA President and NBB Director Ron Heck from his farm in Perry, Iowa. "Securing passage of a biodiesel tax credit is the top legislative priority of both organizations, and we’re fortunate to have a champion like Senator Grassley that shares this priority."

Biodiesel has strong bi-partisan support in Congress. Thanks to the leadership of Senators Grassley, Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and others, the biodiesel tax credit was included in the energy bill, which the full U.S. House of Representatives approved last fall, as well as the transportation bill that the Senate approved in February. The tax credit amounts to one penny per percentage point of biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel. The incentive will be available to diesel excise taxpayers and other fuel distributors who purchase biodiesel and blend it into diesel fuel, and the savings will be passed on to consumers in both taxable and tax exempt markets.

"Senate passage of this bill is an encouraging step toward enactment of key biodiesel tax incentive provisions," said Bob Metz, chairman of the National Biodiesel Board and ASA Executive Committee member from South Dakota. "Greater biodiesel use will benefit all Americans, and we urge our leaders in Congress to act on this important measure."

With yesterday’s vote, the debate over FSC/ETI moves to the House. If the House adopts its FSC/ETI repeal measure, the debate will proceed to Conference, where the differences between the two measures would be reconciled. The biodiesel tax credit is not included in the House version of the FSC/ETI repeal.

"ASA and NBB have said all along that the biodiesel tax credit must be signed into law, no matter what the legislative vehicle is. The FSC/ETI measure is one option, which we will pursue with vigor. But we’ll also continue lobbying aggressively for the inclusion of our tax incentive in both the energy bill and transportation bill," concluded Heck.

Biodiesel works in any diesel engine with few or no modifications. It can be used in its pure form (B100), or blended with petroleum diesel at any level -- most commonly 20 percent (B20). More than 400 major fleets use biodiesel commercially nationwide. More than 200 retail filling stations also make biodiesel available to the public, and hundreds of petroleum distributors carry it nationwide.

A U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture full lifecycle emissions study found that for every unit of fossil energy needed to make biodiesel, 3.2 units of energy are gained. In contrast, it takes 1.2 units of fossil resources to produce 1 unit of petroleum diesel. Biodiesel reduces emissions, and it is nontoxic, biodegradable and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. Biodiesel offers similar fuel economy, horsepower and torque to petroleum diesel while providing superior lubricity. It significantly reduces emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, unburned hydrocarbons and sulfates. On a lifecycle basis, biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel.