NATSO, a national association representing truckstops and travel plazas, joined a coalition of trade associations representing the biodiesel supply chain to urge Congress to extend the biodiesel blenders' tax credit, saying it is crucial to the competitiveness of the alternative fuel.
In letters to members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, Natso asked lawmakers not to change the existing biodiesel tax credit structure, arguing that it helps displace traditional petroleum-based fuel with a cleaner-burning substitute.
NATSO was joined by the Advanced Biofuels Association, American Trucking Associations, National Association of Convenience Stores, Petroleum Marketers Association of America, and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America in signing the letter.
According to NATSO, there has been an effort in states that produce biodiesel fuel to change the current biodiesel blenders tax credit into a tax credit for producers. The group argued that because price competitiveness is so critical to the viability of biodiesel sales, taking away the tax credit would hurt sellers.
"A producer's credit would be horrible for consumers and the American economy," said Lisa Mullings, NATSO president and CEO. “The biodiesel tax credit helps fuel retailers to sell biodiesel at a cost that is competitive with traditional diesel. If the price of biodiesel is no longer on par with the price of diesel, consumers won't be inclined to buy it."
Since 20015, there has been a $1 per gallon biodiesel blenders’ tax credit that has helped fuel retailers sell biodiesel at a competitive price. The tax credit expired at the end of 2016.
By converting the tax credit from a blenders’ credit to a producers’ credit, biodiesel prices would increase and consumer interest would decline, hindering the government’s efforts to advance cleaner-burning fuels, according to Natso.
While NATSO is urging Congress to extend the tax credit, it is also advocating for phasing it out over time and allowing the fuel to eventually stand on its own and thrive long-term without direct government support.
“Congress has already considered - and rightly rejected - past efforts to shift the biodiesel blenders' tax credit to the producer's credit,” said Mullings. “We strongly urge you to again reject efforts to alter what continues to be sound public policy."