According to a press release from the National Biodiesel Board estimates that US production of biodiesel will triple this year to 75 million gallons in 2005, up from the 25 million gallons produced in 2004. There are currently 45 active biodiesel plants in the United States, with an average output of about 6.5 million gallons per year, although there are a few larger plants in the 30 million gallon range that have also recently opened. Currently, at least 54 more plants are planned [see accompanying graphic].
According to Green Car Congress, more than 600 major fleets use biodiesel nationwide, including the National Park Service, state departments of transportation and the military. Nationally, more than 600 retail filling stations make biodiesel blends available to the public.
However, even at 75 million gallons, biodiesel remains a very small portion of our overall diesel use, let alone total petroleum consumption. According to the US Energy Information Administration, US on-highway use consumed 37.1 billion gallons of diesel in 2003. At that level of consumption, the biodiesel production in 2005 represents a meagre 0.2% of supply. Widespread concern also abounds as to the maximum potential for that biodiesel to contribute significant portions of our petroleum use without impacting our food production.