Biodiesel tax credit should not be for big oil

David Tanner
staff writer

The profit-driven greed of big oil is showing its ugly head again, this time in the realm of renewable fuels like biodiesel.

Since early 2005, a $1-per-gallon federal tax credit for the burgeoning industry of biodiesel producers and blenders has enabled more than 80 new biodiesel plants to spring up around the U.S. It has created jobs, added a renewable fuel alternative, helped farmers and reduced some of our dependence on foreign oil.

But while the tax credit has helped many small businesses, a loophole in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 has allowed big oil to step in and demand blenders’ credits.

This is the same big oil that hasn’t added petroleum refining capacity for 30 years. The big boys are now capitalizing on these tax breaks and grabbing market share from independent biodiesel producers.

One example involves ConocoPhillips, which launched a deal recently to blend chicken fat from Tyson Foods into its petroleum diesel. It’s called co-processing and with the current loophole it qualifies the oil giant for a blender’s credit.