On October 31, a diverse group of biodiesel producers, fuel retailers, and trucking interests sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee in support of extending and phasing out the biodiesel blenders’ tax credit, and outlining their opposition to efforts to shift the credit to a producers’ credit, as the tax-writing committees consider tax reform legislation.
David Fialkov, NATSO’s Vice President of Government Affairs, issued the following statement:
“This is a significant development because we have every segment of the biodiesel supply chain writing in support of extending and phasing out the blenders’ tax credit. The blenders’ credit has successfully incentivized fuel retailers to incorporate biodiesel into their fuel supply in a manner that enables them to lower their diesel prices. This benefits trucking fleets and drivers who get to pay less money for fuel and it benefits biodiesel producers who have a vibrant, growing demand for their product. The blenders’ credit is good for everyone.
“The only real surprise here is that there are a small handful of domestic biodiesel production companies who didn’t sign this letter. These companies, who represent approximately half of U.S. biodiesel production, continue to insist that the U.S. government pay them for simply making a product, regardless of whether the public wants to buy it. This may help them in the short-term but it doesn’t help their customers, and it certainly doesn’t help the truck drivers who they want to buy their product.
“Phasing out the blenders’ credit over five years makes sense in the context of comprehensive tax reform where Congress is looking to lower rates, simplify the tax code, and foster economic growth. Shifting to a producers’ credit, on the other hand, is excessively complicated, would create a brand new tax expenditure and would result in higher fuel prices.
“What’s more, it divides the stakeholder community. Fuel retailers do not support a producer credit. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to see that a divided stakeholder community makes it less likely that the biodiesel tax credit will be extended in any form. That would be undesirable for everyone. The companies that would be hurt the most, however, are not retailers, who will continue to sell fuel that their customers want to buy. It will be the small biodiesel producers who are unwittingly beholden to a flawed advocacy strategy."
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