Will federal mandates continue to drive the recycled cooking oil industry?

Years ago in Portland Oregon, I remember driving behind an old Mercedes Benz with a bumper sticker that read “Powered by BioDiesel.” As the smell of old French fries drifted through my windows, I smiled, imagining the alternative fuel must have been made with a bad batch of cooking oil. Since then, commercial production of biodiesel in the U.S. continues to break records, the most recent in 2016 at 2.8 billion gallons, thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. IBISWorld reports revenues have increased on an average annual basis during the period 2010 through 2016, and the number of companies that recycle cooking oil has increased from 804 to 951 during the same period.

However, growth in the cooking oil recycling and biodiesel production industries is uncertain. The $1-per-gallon tax credit for biofuels expired on December 31, 2016, and it is unclear how President Trump and EPA chief Scott Pruittwill act towards renewable energy mandates.