A new study, "Contribution of the biodiesel industry to the economy of the U.S.," predicts biodiesel and its related industries of production and job creation will add $24 billion to the U.S. economy between 2006 and 2015. The study by the National Biodiesel Board predicts total production capacity in the U.S. will grow from 75 million gals. in 2005, to 650 million gals./year by 2015, creating 39,100 new jobs during that time.

Landlinemag.com reports soybeans continue to be the crop of choice to produce the oil that can be made into non-toxic biodiesel, but other vegetable oils, animal fats and recycled grease are also common. A blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum-based diesel runs efficiently in all trucks, the board says.

Meanwhile, the price of oil fell by more than $2/barrel Thursday, its lowest level in a year. The Associated Press cites falling OPEC output, a slowing U.S. economy, and an abundance of home-heating fuels going into the winter-heating season. Meanwhile, gasoline prices at the pump are averaging $2.23/gal., nationwide, 6ยข below year-ago levels.
-- Joe Roybal