In Washington, during the Senate Finance Committee’s July markup, Senator Charles Grassley offered an amendment, co-sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell, which would extend the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credit for two years. However, starting in 2016 it would convert the credit from one for blenders to one for those who produce biodiesel and renewable diesel.
Converting the tax credit to a producer’s tax credit and limiting its availability fails to capture the global market essence of fuels, argues the Advanced Biofuels Association. It increases profits for a limited number of producers; while reducing the overall availability of fuels. Any limits in the supply chain are likely to increase costs for consumers. This amendment also places an unnecessary burden on fuel retailers who have incurred significant costs to purchase and maintain the equipment to dispense blended fuels, another cost likely to be passed on to consumers.
There is also significant concern that the provision will limit the supply of biofuel heating oil into the Northeast this winter. This change, in combination with the poorly designed excise tax system, could lead to consumers paying as much as an additional 24 cents per gallon for their biofuel heating oil this winter. Converting to a production credit will also likely result in a trade violation, a concern acknowledged by Senator Grassley.