U.S. production of biodiesel was a record 109 million gallons in December 2011, according to new data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Production came from 113 active biodiesel plants. Biodiesel production for all of 2011 was 967 million gallons, which was the highest level recorded since EIA began tracking this data. Biodiesel fuel is mainly used for transportation, similar to diesel fuel.
Monthly biodiesel production had both sharp increases and decreases in 2009 and 2010 due in part to the expiration and reinstatement of Federal tax credits and renewable fuels standards affecting biodiesel. After reaching 64 million gallons in November 2009, biodiesel production fell following the expiration of the blending tax credit of $1.00 per gallon at the end of 2009. With the December 2010 reinstatement of the blending tax credit effective through December 2011 and increased requirements for biomass based diesel under the renewable fuels standard, production rebounded from a low of 22 million one year before.
Annual biodiesel production was 516 million gallons in 2009. Production fell to 343 million gallons in 2010 but then rebounded to 967 million gallons in 2011.
Soybean oil was the largest biodiesel feedstock in 2011, at 4,136 million pounds consumed. The next three largest biodiesel feedstocks during 2011 were canola oil (847 million pounds), yellow grease and other recycled feedstocks (665 million pounds), and white grease (533 million pounds).
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