The Environmental Protection Agency announced it will require 1.28 billion gallons of bio-based diesel production in 2013, finalizing a standard it proposed more than a year ago.

The final volume is an increase from the 1 billion gallons that EPA required in 2012. EPA had originally proposed the 1.28-billion gallon standard levels for 2013 in June 2011, but delayed finalizing the rule until it further reviewed all comments and stakeholder input.

Biodiesel is an alternative fuel made largely from soybean oil, used cooking oil, and animal fats. Congress established biomass-based biodiesel production mandates under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

That Renewable Fuel Standard from 2007 required biodiesel to be included in U.S. diesel fuel markets beginning in 2010. The level was set at 800 million gallons in 2011, the first full year compliance was required, before it was increased to 1 billion gallons in 2012. After that, the EPA is required to determine how much biodiesel must be blended annually.

The biodiesel industry praised the decision.

"It will allow biodiesel plants across the country to invest and expand, creating thousands of jobs," said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, the industry trade association. "At the same time, it sends a strong signal that the U.S. is standing firm behind its commitment to producing clean, American-made energy to strengthen our energy security and break our dependence on petroleum."