NATSO urges Senate to extend biodiesel tax credit

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NATSO, the national association representing truckstops and travel plazas, along with industry partners, on Tuesday, July 13, urged congressional leaders to support an extension of the biodiesel tax credit. Sen. Charles Grassley’s amendment to the Small Business Lending Act of 2010 would extend the credit through Dec. 31.

In a letter addressed to members of the Senate, NATSO – along with the National Association of Convenience Stores, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America – said the blender tax credit is critically important to the survival of the nation’s biodiesel producers and fuel blenders.

“It is vital that Congress reinstate the biodiesel tax credit to ensure a healthy biodiesel market for producers and consumers,” says Lisa Mullings, NATSO president and chief executive officer. “The lapse of this credit and drastic cuts in production are undermining fuel retailers’ commitment to offering alternative fuels to the public and to investing in biodiesel infrastructure. The expiration of the tax credit has put thousands of jobs at stake and threatens the industry’s ability to meet the mandated renewable fuels standard.”

NATSO says that since the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit expired, U.S. biodiesel production has plummeted by more than 80 percent; at the same time, motorists are changing buying habits as the price of biodiesel surpasses other fuels. NATSO says the $1-per-gallon blender tax credit helps make biodiesel cost-competitive with conventional diesel fuel, and that when the tax credit expired, many fuel blenders and producers continued to pass the $1-per-gallon credit on to customers based on an assurance that the credit would not lapse and would cover all of 2010.

NATSO says the expiration of the tax credit, coupled with sagging consumer demand, has caused many producers to shut down or severely scale back production, and that failure to reinstate the tax credit could force fuel blenders and producers to lay off employees or push them into failure.