A Billion Gallons of Biodiesel: Who Benefits?

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2015-07-20
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Carriquiry, Miguel
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Babcock, Bruce
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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Although the expanded corn ethanol and cellulosic biofuels mandates contained in the new Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) have generated the most headlines, the act’s new biodiesel mandates may have a larger impact on U.S. agriculture over the next few years. Biodiesel use is now mandated to grow from 500 million gallons in 2009 to one billion gallons in 2012. U.S. biodiesel production was expected to decline significantly over the next few years because of low operating margins caused by high feedstock costs. The increased production due to the mandate will put upward pressure on already high vegetable oil prices, which in turn will further increase the cost of producing U.S. biodiesel.

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