Ohio biodiesel - is the cost worth it?

Being slightly bias toward diversifying our petroleum use and encouraging U.S. based "grown" clean fuels, I do struggle with saving taxpayers of Ohio money too. It's a challenging call particularly when budgets are tight. On one hand, Ohio farms grow soybeans (offsetting the burning of hydrocarbons),  industries hire people to produce biodiesel and offset a few barrels of imported petroleum ... on the other hand, market forces keep biodiesel prices higher than using oil.

The Ohio Department of Transportation spent an extra $3.3 million during the last four years on biofuels, according to a state auditor’s report, but clean fuel advocates say the benefits far outweigh higher prices at the pump.

Since July 2006, ODOT and other state agencies have been required to fill their vehicles with blended biodiesel when available. Blended biodiesel is a diesel replacement fuel made with plant materials, usually soybean and corn. Last year, choosing biofuels over regular diesel cost on average an extra 36 cents per gallon, according to the report.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost suggested state lawmakers loosen the requirement or scrap the mandate, which would save ODOT an estimated $800,000 per year, he said.