NATSO urges extension of biodiesel tax credit

| December 17, 2009

The National Association of Truck Stop Owners on Dec. 16 urged Senate leaders to quickly extend the biodiesel tax credit before it expires Dec. 31 to ensure an affordable biodiesel supply for the nation’s 3.5 million truck drivers and to secure the environmental investments of the nation’s truck stops and travel plazas.

Lisa Mullings, NATSO president and chief executive officer, says extending the tax credit will increase biodiesel production while spurring retail investment in the infrastructure necessary to supply biodiesel to commercial carriers and the motoring public. Mullings’ request came just days after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a one-year extension of the current $1 per gallon tax blender credit for biodiesel.

“Our members want to support green initiatives,” Mullings says. “But they are concerned that if they make the investment in biodiesel fueling infrastructure and the tax credit isn’t renewed, they won’t be able to sell the biodiesel because of the price disparity between biodiesel and other fuels. We would like to see the tax credit extended so that fuel retailers will be to make these investments.”

Promoting biodiesel as part of a comprehensive national energy strategy, which includes strict quality standards, is vital to ensuring an adequate, uninterrupted supply of fuel, according to NATSO; a biodiesel tax credit lapse would grind biodiesel production to a halt, further distressing an industry that has encountered significant hardship over the last year.

Congress imposed biodiesel production mandates in recent years to stimulate renewable fuel development. Without an extension of the tax credit, however, the production mandate would become meaningless as consumer demand for the product eroded, NATSO says.

The biodiesel tax credit, which is part of the “extenders” package known as H.R. 4213, includes $5 billion in individual tax relief, $17 billion in business tax relief, $1.2 billion to encourage charitable giving, $2.6 billion for disaster tax relief provisions and more than $1 billion to extend expiring energy tax provisions.

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