Some biofuel critics would incorrectly have you believe that biodiesel reduces the food supply and contributes to higher prices at stores. In reality, biodiesel plays a vital role in strengthening America’s food security and reducing pressures on food prices. We call it our Food THEN Fuel™ approach because it’s the opposite of the “food versus fuel” criticism some biofuels face for allegedly diverting crops for fuel production.
Upgrades and investments made by top biodiesel producers have paved the way for biodiesel to be made from just about any fat, grease or vegetable oil — including waste products that are typically not suitable for consumption. So rather than contribute to food scarcity, biodiesel actually enhances food security by spurring additional supplies.
Support for this can be found in the work of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), one of the world’s most prominent clean air agencies. CARB sets what are known as carbon intensity scores, which are a measure of greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing and consuming fuel. The CARB model factors in the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the full lifecycle of a fuel — from feedstock production through the use of fuel in a vehicle.
The most recent CARB data awards biodiesel the lowest carbon intensity score among liquid fuels and natural gas.
When it comes to economic impact, biodiesel supports nearly 64,000 U.S. jobs and provides more than $2.1 billion in annual household income. Restaurant owners benefit from the ability to transform used cooking oil from a waste product that costs money to dispose of to an asset they can actually sell. The perks even trickle down to everyday consumers by keeping a lid on the prices they ultimately pay.
As the U.S. seeks ways to advance its environmental, energy diversity and food security goals, the domestic biodiesel industry has the scale and capability to contribute much more. To better understand this approach, check out our Food THEN Fuel white paper.
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