By Chase Hagl
President Biden Renews Sustainable Aviation Fuel Tax Credits
On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden made remarks supporting a renewed push for tax credits for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), which is an integral piece for reducing carbon emissions from air travel — an industry known for its high CO2 output.
The tax credits were first introduced last year as part of the Build Back Better Agenda. Biden called for tax incentives that would ultimately help coordinate leadership and innovation across the federal government, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fuel producers, airports, and non-governmental organizations to advance the use of cleaner and more sustainable fuels in American aviation. By 2030, the White House aims to have a 20 percent decrease in aviation emissions by increasing the production of sustainable aviation fuels to at least 3 billion gallons. The incentives will play a critical part in achieving this goal.
Today, the aviation industry accounts for 11 percent of United States transportation-related emissions. The push for more sustainable options will help keep both the industry and economy in the United States on track to achieving the much larger goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“In recent weeks, global fuel shortages have underscored the growing need for Sustainable Aviation Fuels. To protect the environment and meet the needs of the public, elected officials must reimagine how we travel and prioritize measures to make Sustainable Aviation Fuels a reality,” U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said in a statement, according to TravelPulse. “U.S. Travel applauds President Biden for identifying the critical need to advance policies and long-term solutions that make travel more sustainable, and for recognizing the opportunity to not just recover from the pandemic, but to rebuild to be stronger than we were before. We do not have to choose between traveling and saving the planet—both are possible if policymakers continue to work with the travel industry to accelerate sustainability.”
Since the initial introduction of the proposed tax credits, Congress has been reluctant to approve them, as they are a part of that larger spending bill, hence the reason behind President Biden’s additional remarks at a biofuel processing plant in Menlo, Iowa on Tuesday.
“It’s going to require billions of gallons of Sustainable Aviation Fuel,” Biden said. “You simply can’t get to net-zero by 2050 without biofuels.”
This comes at a time when airlines in the United States are put under the microscope by environmental groups to lower their carbon footprint and have pledged to use more Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).
Currently, the fuel is made in very small quantities from feedstocks such as cooking oil and can be two to three times more expensive than standard jet fuel, making it difficult for carriers to reduce their carbon footprint in an affordable way.
Additionally, the administration is committed to transforming the aviation sector in a way that creates good-paying union jobs in manufacturing, improves the environmental quality for airport and airline workers and unlocks rural economic opportunities for sustainable fuels from many different pathways.