The U.S. alternative-fuel industries applauded the U.S. House for passing a year-end fiscal package that reinstates the tax incentives for 2012 and 2013. President Obama is expected to quickly sign the bill into law.
The $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive was first implemented in 2005. Congress has allowed it to lapse twice, in 2010 and again in 2012. Under the legislation approved by the House on Tuesday and first passed by the Senate on Monday, the incentive will be reinstated retroactively to Jan. 1, 2012 and through the end of 2013.
"It's been a long year with a lot of missed opportunity and lost jobs in the biodiesel industry. But we're pleased that Congress has finally approved an extension so that we can get production back on track," said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). "This is not an abstract issue. In the coming months, because of this decision, we'll begin to see real economic impacts with companies expanding production and hiring new employees."
The biodiesel tax incentive last expired on Dec. 31, 2011. A recent study found that the industry would have produced an additional 300 million gallons this year with the tax incentive in place. That would have supported some 19,213 additional jobs, for a total of 83,258 jobs supported by the industry nationwide, according to the study, conducted by Cardno ENTRIX, an international economics consulting firm. The study also found that the industry would support some 112,078 jobs nationally this year with the tax credit in place versus 81,977 without it. Additionally, the return of the incentive is projected to increase household income by some $1.6 billion next year while supporting an additional $3.1 billion in GDP.
Along with these economic benefits, Steckel said that biodiesel is helping reduce America's dependence on imported petroleum and making us less vulnerable to global petroleum markets that continue to disrupt the economy and threaten our national security, while significantly reducing tailpipe pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
"This is important not just for jobs but for diversifying our energy supplies, improving our energy security and reducing costly emissions," Steckel said.
Meanwhile, the fiscal-cliff deal also reinstated a $0.50 per gallon tax rebate for CNG/LNG and propane and a $30,000 infrastructure tax credit.
"The alternative fuel tax provisions are uniquely important, not just to the propane industry, but for every American because they help us achieve our energy security goals," said Richard Roldan, president and CEO of the National Propane Gas Association.
Noting the specific benefit to the growing propane autogas sector, Roldan added: "The extension of the alternative fuel tax credit and the refueling infrastructure tax credit will help get more propane autogas vehicles on the road and encourage fleet managers to strongly consider alternative fuel options before making a decision."
Owners of two- and three-wheeled, plug-in electric vehicles are eligible for a 10-percent credit applicable to the purchase price, or $2,500.