WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. biodiesel industry set a new record in 2013 by producing nearly 1.8 billion gallons, according to recently released figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) said the production record underscores the industry’s case for a revised Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) proposal this year.

The industry’s total production significantly exceeded the 2013 biodiesel requirement under the RFS and was enough to fill the majority of the Advanced Biofuel requirement, NBB said. Yet the Obama Administration has proposed holding the 2014 RFS volume for biodiesel at 1.28 billion gallons while also sharply cutting the overall Advanced Biofuel requirement — a proposal that, if finalized, would significantly reduce production. 

Industry leaders pointed to the new 2013 numbers in again calling on the administration to increase the biodiesel and Advanced RFS proposals to at least reflect current production rates. 

“The success of the biodiesel industry in 2013 proves that the RFS is working today and stimulating the commercial-scale production of advanced biofuel,” said Joe Jobe, chief executive officer of the NBB. “It also makes it incredibly frustrating that the Obama Administration is backing away from this progress with its recent RFS proposal.

“If our industry produced 1.8 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuel in 2013, why is the Administration retreating to 1.28 billion gallons for 2014? We’re proving it can be done. What we need is consistent policy, and that is sorely lacking in Washington right now.”

Because some excess 2013 biodiesel production could be “carried over” into 2014 for RFS compliance purposes, the real RFS market this year could be closer to 1 billion gallons for biodiesel — a cut that would shock the industry, NBB said. 

In addition to the weak RFS proposal, Congress also allowed a key biodiesel tax incentive to lapse on Dec. 31, further disrupting the industry.

“Many biodiesel producers have been running at full capacity in recent months,” Jobe said. “That’s driving down costs and creating tremendous economic activity. Yet instead of embracing this success, Washington is walking away from it.”