Missouri bills to add biodiesel standard, end ethanol requirement die

| 6/15/2009

Two efforts that failed to gain backing at the Missouri statehouse this year sought to make changes to biofuel mandates in the state.

One bill called for a mandate of biodiesel use in the state. Missouri already requires that gasoline sold in the state to contain 10 percent ethanol. A separate measure would have dropped the state’s ethanol rule.

The Senate opted not to bring up for a vote a bill that required all diesel fuel sold at the retail level in the state to be a biodiesel blend. The measure – SB29 – required at least 5 percent biodiesel at the pumps by July 2011.

Supporters were hopeful of adding Missouri to the short list of states to enact some sort of biodiesel requirement. Louisiana, Oregon and Washington have approved 2 percent standards while Minnesota and New Mexico have authorized 5 percent requirements. A 2 percent mandate in Massachusetts takes effect next year.

The Missouri bill would have waived the biodiesel requirement if the price is more expensive than conventional diesel. It called for implementing the biodiesel standard four months after the average price of biodiesel is equal to or less than the average price of regular diesel for a full year.

Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer said adopting the biodiesel standard in Missouri would benefit consumers and the state’s air quality.

The bill’s demise was welcome news to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. OOIDA is not in favor of mandated standards for biodiesel or ethanol.
OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer is hopeful that lawmakers avoid authorizing any more mandates.

“We should have learned our lesson from ethanol,” Spencer told Land Line.

That sentiment spurred Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, to offer a bill addressing the state’s requirement for ethanol blended fuel. The measure – SB11 – called for the repeal of the 10 percent ethanol mandate that took effect Jan. 1. But the bill died in committee.

The blend is required when the price of ethanol is cheaper than gasoline.

Bartle said the mandate encourages farmers to grow corn for fuel instead of corn for food. As a result, it drives up the prices on the consumer, he said in a written statement.

Advocates of the law refuted Bartle’s mandate claim. They pointed out that if ethanol isn’t cheaper, retailers aren’t required to blend gasoline.

Both bills can be brought back for consideration once the 2010 session opens in January.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com