Pushing B20 for 2020 and Beyond

By Mike Levin, Illinois Soybean Growers director of public policy and regulatory affairs

VFS Biodiesel imageFavorable biodiesel legislation and regulations have been priorities for Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) since the 1990s. We have notched several state and national victories over the years that have led to fuel tax credits, inclusion in critical energy policy and positive environmental results.

For example, the Illinois Biodiesel Sales and Use Tax Credit, which began in 2003, continues to offer a full exemption from the 6.25 percent sales tax on biodiesel blends exceeding 10 percent and a 20 percent exemption for blends below 10 percent. Biodiesel producers also have federal tax credits available to them. And we believe ongoing assistance will help grow the industry.

So, in 2020, we are taking another step forward by advocating for more widespread B20 use, a 20 percent biodiesel blend. While much of the biodiesel used in Illinois is commonly blended as 5-11 percent biodiesel with the rest petroleum diesel, we have documented that blends up to at least 20 percent can further enhance the economic and environmental benefits of biodiesel.

Illinois soybean farmers currently are working with industry officials to perform an analysis on the different components of biodiesel use in Illinois. We are updating numbers and the overall statistics for the Illinois economy to confirm continued economic viability at the fuel pump.

We also are looking at the updated environmental aspects of what biodiesel offers as a renewable fuel. We plan to share all of these facts with stakeholders as we push for more B20 use. We also are building coalitions that can help us secure an even better future for biodiesel.

ISG’s advocacy work complements what the Illinois soybean checkoff is doing on the biodiesel research and promotion front. Biodiesel helps drive the value of soybean oil and has contributed more than 60 cents per bushel to the price of soybeans because checkoff dollars have been invested in programs to inform and educate biodiesel users about its value to environment and economy. Projects are looking into the pathways for achieving even higher biodiesel blends.

As 2020 progresses, I encourage farmers to support our B20 efforts. If you have not signed up on the VoiceforSoy.com website to get critical issue updates and action alerts, now is a good time to do so. ISG will keep farmers and others updated on what comes next in our 2020 B20 push.