A Brief History of Biodiesel Policy in Ohio

January 14, 2022 Ohio Soybean Association

The Ohio Soybean Association has been a long-time advocate for biodiesel, diesel fuel made with a combination of soybean oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats. In 2005, soybean oil use for biodiesel was just 675,000 pounds. Biodiesel consumption in 2017 required 6.2 billon pounds of soybean oil or the oil from 532 million bushels of soybeans. As we look to the future of biodiesel and the expansion of the renewable diesel market, we decided to look back on what the policy of biodiesel has been in the state of Ohio.

Clean Diesel School Bus Fund | 2006
In 2006, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Clean Diesel School Bus Fund. The program ran from 2006–2015 and awarded grants to school districts and county developmental disability programs to retrofit diesel school buses with pollution controls and idle reduction equipment. The program sought to reduce student and driver exposure to the harmful pollutants in diesel exhaust and to conserve fuel. The program was discontinued in 2016 because there are so few school buses left of eligible model years (1996–2004) that would continue in service for the required four years after retrofit.

Biodiesel Executive Order | 2007
In January 2007, as one of his first acts as Governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland issued an executive order that would establish more fuel pumps for state vehicles that dispense E-85, a mix of gasoline and corn-based ethanol, as well as biodiesel fuels that use vegetable oil or animal fats. In addition, the executive order stated that use of biodiesel must increase to 25% by January 1, 2008 or sooner.

Motor Fuel Quality Testing | 2007
After several previous legislative attempts, law was established in 2007 for the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to create a fuel quality testing program. The legislative vehicle for this law was House Bill 67, the Transportation Budget, for the 127th General Assembly. This law is still on the books today, but ODA never implemented a program due to lack of funding and a change in the administration.

Alternative Fuel Transportation Grant Program | 2009
House Bill 59 of the 128th General Assembly, the Alternative Fuel Transportation Grant Program, was established to encourage the use of alternative fuels. It permitted the state to make grants for the purchase and installation of alternative fuel refueling or distribution facilities and terminals; purchase and use alternative fuels; and pay the costs of education and promotional materials and activities intended for prospective fuel consumers, fuel marketers, and others. This law is currently still on the books today. Also required under House Bill 59 was that all new motor vehicles acquired by the state and used by state agencies be capable of using alternative fuels, including blending biodiesel. State agencies must use the relevant alternative fuel if it is reasonably priced and available.

Biodiesel Revolving Fund | 2013
The Biodiesel Revolving Loan Fund was created in 2013 with the purpose of funds being used to pay for the incremental cost of biodiesel for use in vehicles owned or leased by the state that use  diesel fuel.

Motor Fuel Quality Testing Revisited | 2020
After ODA failed to establish a statewide fuel quality testing program, counties wanted to be able to create their own programs. Bipartisan legislation was introduced in 2020 to do this but has not been passed by the General Assembly.