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The Fuel of the Future

A large truck driving down the road
By Matt Amick
As demand for various alternative fuel sources grows, the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council is working diligently to position biodiesel as the fuel of the future. 

The fuel market is changing. Right now, it’s tough to even start the conversation on fuel. With prices at the pump reaching record highs, consumers can’t think past the number on the receipt. For farmers, the environment and our global fuel market, it is imperative that accessible fuel options don’t slip through the cracks. 

The Future State of Soy research reiterated the fact that sharing consumers are leaning away from liquid fuels and converting to electric vehicles (EVs). It is currently projected up to 50% of new car sales will be EVs by 2035, fueled by both consumer demand and government requirements. 

However, biodiesel remains strong and still holds power in the portfolio. Global demand for protein and oilseeds is expected to grow through 2040. Demand for biofuels – including biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) – is increasing the market for soybean oil. Over the last decade, U.S. soybean oil production increased more than 30%. This is good news for soybean farmers, because biodiesel helps fill demand for excess oil to create a renewable product. Soybean growers today are meeting the demand for both food and fuel, and then some. 

Another key factor to note is the biodiesel industry is poised to capitalize on demand for renewable fuels now. It is more complicated to electrify heavy duty diesel trucks and equipment, locomotives and marine vessels. Governments are recognizing they will need a different solution to reach current carbon reduction goals outside of EVs. Biodiesel is recognized as an immediate, domestic solution. 

Biodiesel will become even more accessible in the Show-Me State with the recent investment from the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA). This spring, MASBDA kindly granted up to $2 million for projects that increase the distribution and use of high blends of biodiesel in Missouri. To leverage checkoff dollars and aid the farmer, the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council provided matching funds to this project along with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program and the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council. 

With the passing of the omnibus ag bill this session, Missouri is also increasing accessibility to biodiesel across the state. The bill aims to incentivize fuel suppliers, create cost competitiveness compared to petroleum diesel and instill a strong domestic fuel market for the state long term. 

The bottom line is these changes in the marketplace should prime soybean farmers to have strong demand for years to come. Our recommendation is to use biodiesel on your own farm and encourage other farmers in your area, fleet managers and other local businesses to consider doing the same. 

We must grow biodiesel and renewable diesel markets, and we know soybean farmers will continue to deliver a strong supply of soybean oil to meet those needs. Ensuring a consistent and reliable market for soybean oil in the future is crucial to keeping demand strong. 

Current checkoff programs are investing in biodiesel, while working on partnerships with renewable diesel suppliers. These efforts are critical to positioning biodiesel as a cleaner fuel option for fleets today. 

So, the next time you fill up at the pump, remember Missouri Soybeans is working for you. We are working on accessible, sustainable and domestic options for not only the farmer but all consumers. Fuel up with biodiesel and invest in soybean from plant to pump. 

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