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U.S. biodiesel production hits new high, but import concerns remain

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U.S. biodiesel production hit an all-time high in 2015, its second record-breaking year in a row, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Biofuels Digest reports that EPA statistics show production of 1.813 billion gallons last year, up from the previous record of 1.74 billion gallons in 2014.

Increased production of 161.05 million gallons in December helped put 2015 over the top, increasing 9 percent over the previous month, the publication said.

Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant greases; is biodegradable; and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, industry sources say.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania's biodiesel production capacity is about 45 million gallons of biodiesel per year.

Meanwhile, as Farm Futures reports, American consumers used a record amount of the fuel last year, but their 2.1 billion gallon consumption outstripped domestic production, and the country imported 670 million gallons, a trend that poses concerns for the relatively young industry.

Farm Futures says The National Biodiesel Board wants Congress to change the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive from its current status as a blender's credit. The group would like it to be a producer’s credit because the blender's credit allows the incentive to be used for biodiesel produced overseas but blended here.

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Roger DuPuis

Roger DuPuis

Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at rdupuis@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @rogerdupuis2.

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