Here is a letter to the Columbus Dispatch from Bill Davis, President of the Ohio Soybean Association, arguing for the ODOT biodiesel mandate.
Auditor of State Dave Yost’s recent recommendation that the Ohio Department of Transportation
eliminate its legislatively mandated use of biodiesel and switch back to 100 percent petroleum
diesel to save money is shortsighted (“
State vehicles’ biodiesel too costly,” Capital Notes item, May 22). It does not consider the
many benefits biodiesel provides to Ohio.
In addition, my group believes that an evaluation of biodiesel purchasing practices could yield
more-efficient purchasing and a reduction on the price differential. While we agree that the state
must enact cost-effective practices, the full range of biodiesel’s benefits — economic,
energy-security and environmental — more than make up for the minimal cost difference identified by
Biodiesel creates hundreds of Ohio jobs on farms and production facilities, and at fuel
distributors. These are good, local jobs. In these tough economic times, can we afford to throw
Something else that we can’t afford is compromising our energy security. Every gallon of
biodiesel we use in Ohio displaces a gallon of petroleum. If there is one thing we can all agree on
today, surely, it is the need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Every time we use biodiesel,
we move closer to achieving that goal, while also keeping Ohio dollars in Ohio.
We cannot ignore biodiesel’s significant environmental benefits. After extensive review, the
Environmental Protection Agency determined that biodiesel reduces greenhouse-gas emissions by 50
percent as compared with petroleum diesel, and it decreases particulate matter, a serious health
hazard, by 47 percent. It also reduces cancer-causing emissions by more than 80 percent compared
with regular diesel.
Biodiesel also enhances engine lubricity, which extends engine life by preventing premature wear
and tear. All of these factors must be taken into consideration in response to Yost’s
recommendation, which is a short-term fix for long-term economic, energy-security and environmental
Revising the state mandate would be counterproductive. Let’s maintain our commitment to a fuel
that will take Ohio forward, not back.
Ohio Soybean Association
And here is a letter from myself, published in the 6/6 edition of the Dispatch.
In his Saturday letter “Biodiesel's benefits make it worth the extra
cost,” Bret Davis made the case for maintaining Ohio’s biodiesel
mandate. Lauding benefits such as Ohio jobs, energy independence,
environmental benefits and enhanced engine lubricity, Davis made it seem
like using biodiesel to power the state’s vehicles is a no-brainer.
if using biodiesel is so much better than regular gasoline, why does it
need a mandate? Is State Auditor Dave Yost undervaluing the supposed
benefits of biodiesel?
If Davis’ description of the benefits is
accurate, a cost-benefit analysis should include them, as appropriate.
But arguing for an accurate cost-benefit analysis is not the same thing
as pleading for a mandate.
Someone who has confidence in his
product’s benefits would not rely on a government mandate to sell it.
Perhaps we now know how confident Davis is when it comes to biodiesel.
ADAM A. MILLSAP