Bipartisan B20 Law Benefits Illinois Environment, Industry, Drivers, and Farmers

Implementation of a bipartisan bill to encourage the use of higher blends of biodiesel took effect on Monday, April 1. Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) Chairman Ron Kindred and State Representative Charlie Meier call the new law a landmark statute that will benefit all Illinoisians as well as the state’s environment.

Rep. Meier said, “This new law will help Illinois soybean farmers continue to be leaders in the biofuel market, creating jobs and revenue for Illinois. Encouraging the use of a higher percentage of biodiesel blends will help reduce emissions up to 74% compared to normal diesel fuel.”

“This is a significant milestone law for Illinois soybean farmers, but it also shows how the whole state can come together around an issue with multiple benefits for all our citizens and the environment,” said Kindred, a soybean farmer from Atlanta, located in central Illinois.

“Our estimates indicate this bill creates new demand for an average of 90-100 million gallons of soybean oil or the equivalent of about 65-70 million bushels of soybeans annually once B20 is fully implemented,” he added. “This momentous achievement elevates Illinois to the pinnacle of renewable fuels leadership, and it represents a giant leap toward a more sustainable future that starts on Illinois farms. This was a total team effort involving numerous partners across political parties, agriculture, biofuels production, transportation, and clean air advocacy.”

Kindred praised the extraordinary commitment of the primary sponsors of the B20 Bill, Rep. Eva Dina Delgado (D-Chicago) and Sen. Patrick Joyce (D-Kankakee). Delgado and Joyce co-chair the Illinois Sustainable Fuels Caucus. Kindred also credited the leadership of the bill’s lead Republican sponsor, Rep. Charlie Meier (R-Okawville).

Allied groups, such as the American Lung Association, also are applauding the bill’s passage.

“Increasing the biodiesel blend available in Illinois from 11% to 20% over the next few years marks a significant step in the right direction for our state,” said Bailey Arnold, the American Lung Association’s Director of Clean Air Initiatives. “The shift to higher blends will lower tailpipe pollutants and drastically reduce carbon emissions across the transportation sector, leading to better air quality and a healthier environment for all Illinoisans.”

ISA’s Kindred further explained that the B20 bill raises the bar on biodiesel use by increasing the minimum biodiesel blend level eligible for tax exemption. Starting April 1, 2024, the eligible fuel mixture will jump from the current B11 to B14. This means 14% of every gallon of biodiesel sold in Illinois between April 1 and Nov. 30 will be derived largely from domestically produced, renewable vegetable oil, with soybeans being the top contributor by far.

In subsequent years, the minimum biodiesel blend levels eligible for a tax exemption jump to 17% and 20%. Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning alternative to traditional diesel, significantly improving air quality and mitigating the impact of transportation-related greenhouse gases.