Senate Approves Lifting Biodiesel Restriction
By unanimous consent, the Senate has approved the inclusion of a measure in its Energy Package bill that removes a current restriction on government fleets to use biodiesel for no more than half their alternative-fuel requirements. Since the majority of biodiesel users are government fleets, the measure has the potential to double the current biodiesel market.
Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning alternative fuel that can be made from any fat or vegetable oil and works in any diesel engine. In the U.S., it is usually made from soybean oil. The Energy Policy Act (EPACT) was amended in 1998 to allow fleets to gain alternative-fuel vehicle (AFV) credits through the use of biodiesel. Every 450 gallons of biodiesel purchased counts as one AFV credit. However, fleets are currently limited to using biodiesel for 50 percent of their credits. The new amendment removes that restriction.
According to Richard Harper, fleet manager for Alabama Power, “We’ve increased our use of biodiesel, and if the EPACT rules change, there is no doubt we will raise our use to the maximum allowable. What we like about biodiesel is that it requires no conversion or purchase of new equipment. You just start using it.”