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Biodiesel no longer is a niche fuel

While Charles Lane makes good points in his Aug. 22 column on the role of efficiencies and other measures in lessening our reliance on carbon-based fuels, he misses the mark on energy independence while brushing over fuel policy successes.

Domestic producers will tell you they can provide all the oil and gas the United States needs in some 20 years. That definition of "energy independence" will do nothing to free us from the economic consequences of a product that is globally produced and globally priced.

The Energy Information Agency says the U.S. is already producing more oil than it has in the past two decades, yet prices at the pump remain near record highs. Energy experts will tell you that because world conflict — Egypt, Libya, Iran, Syria — and international cartels are the driving force behind oil prices, not domestic supply.

For a real-world example of this reality, Canada is already 100 percent energy independent with its own oil. Yet Canadian consumers pay the same for fuel as the Japanese — who import 100 percent of their oil.  

Only through diversification of, and competition in, our transportation fuel markets can we lower prices. The Renewable Fuel Standard is working and has helped biodiesel grow from a niche fuel into a billion gallon-a-year commercial-scale industry with plants nationwide.

That's what "energy independence" means to makers of America's first advanced biofuel, biodiesel. It's about giving our country the ability to produce, distribute and determine the price of our own fuel supply.

And having cleaner air and more jobs here at home aren't bad side benefits either.

Joe Jobe

Jefferson City, Mo.

Jobe is CEO of the National Biodiesel Board.


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