Fight for biodiesel tax credit extension wages on
NATSO, the national association representing travel plazas and truckstop owners and operators, along with industry partners urged congressional leaders to support an extension of the biodiesel tax credit as part of H.R. 5297: Small Business Lending Act of 2010. An amendment by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) would extend the credit through Dec. 31 and make it retroactive. The bill passed a House vote in June 241 to 182.
In a letter addressed to Senate members, NATSO, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America all 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.”
The PMAA says the biodiesel tax credit has bipartisan support and believes favorable action on the amendment is promising.
NATSO says that since the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit expired Jan.1, 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 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 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. n