According to the real-time counter on the homepage of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), it's been 108 days since the $1.00 per gallon biodiesel tax credit expired. With an entire industry stalled and no clear end to the biodiesel purgatory in sight, more and more groups are petitioning their legislators to bring the tax credit back. Most recently, the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) added its voice to the growing roar of angry alt-fuel proponents.

Since the biodiesel tax credit expired at the end of 2009, NATSO said, U.S. biodiesel production has plummeted by more than 80 percent, forcing motorists and truckers to change their buying habits as the price of biodiesel surpasses other fuels. Lisa Mullings, NATSO President and CEO had this to say about the issue:
The truckstop and travel plaza industry is fully engaged in supporting U.S. environmental efforts. Fuel retailers want to continue making investments in biodiesel infrastructure and want to continue selling biodiesel to customers. But without this tax credit, they can't do that. Congress imposed biodiesel production mandates to stimulate renewable fuel development. Without an extension of the tax credit, the production mandate is meaningless and consumer demand for the product erodes.
The $1-per-gallon blender tax credit makes biodiesel cost competitive with conventional diesel fuel, NATSO explained, and the expiration of the tax credit, coupled with sagging consumer demand, has caused many producers to shut down or severely scale back production.

In a letter addressed to Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Representatives Sander Levin (D-MI) and Dave Camp (R-MI), NATSO urged the lawmakers to quickly convene a conference on the American Worker, State and Business Relief Act of 2010 and to reinstate the tax credit that expired Dec. 31. The letter asked that the tax credit be retroactively applied to January 1, 2010.

[Source: FleetOwner | Image: respres - C.C. License 2.0]