On March 18, we celebrate National Biodiesel Day, a celebration in honor of Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine. Through ingenuity, Diesel thought to fuel an engine on plant oils. Decades later, Missouri soybean farmers pushed the envelope and discovered biodiesel, a Missouri-made, clean-burning diesel fuel that is powered by soybeans.
What started as a conversation around a board room has transcended into an innovative industry 30-years later. In Missouri alone, the industry has seven biodiesel plants, more than 240 million gallons of production capacity, and contributes $1.3 billion in statewide economic impact. On a national scale, the biodiesel production capacity is 2.5 billion gallons and has exceeded the minimum requirements under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
When the original RFS passed in 2005, one of the main themes was the desire for more domestic fuel options to wean our country off foreign oil. Nearly two decades later that conversation hasn’t let up. Biodiesel extends the supply of domestic oil and relinquishes our reliance on foreign oil. This is more important now than ever.
To make biodiesel even more accessible, we currently have the Missouri Made Fuels Act at the state level working to provide incentives to produce and blend biodiesel. This will help drive down the cost of fuel and drive demand.
We know it’s hard to look at the pump right now. We know it’s hard to think about fuel choices when the number on your receipt has reached triple digits. We believe biodiesel is a solution today and in the future. On National Biodiesel Day, we hope you support Missouri-made fuel, support local farmers, support energy independence and ask for biodiesel at your local filling station or co-op. If you want more information on biodiesel in Missouri, please visit missouribiodiesel.org.
Gary Wheeler is the CEO and executive director of Missouri Soybeans.