A comprehensive survey by SRI Consulting finds that the United States is set to become the primary market for biodiesel fuel, accounting for 19 percent of total global usage by 2012. SRI's 2008 Biodiesel report data shows a dramatic overall growth for this renewable form of fuel, with the industry expanding by 50 percent from 2002-2007. Per SRI, that trend is expected to continue at a 30 percent growth rate from 2007 to 2012. While still in a robust expansion mode, the projected modest cooling-down over the next half decade is attributable to a wide range of market uncertainties, including things like rising materials costs, changing regulatory situations, the ongoing food-versus-fuel debates and a slowing overall world economy -- as well as other unforeseen contingencies, starting with the current financial mess.

The SRI research involved comprehensive input from 74 countries that covered all phases of the biodiesel arena. Among its other key findings, the report concludes that the rise in popularity of biodiesel remains contingent upon support from both its political proponents as well as on direct financial incentives that help keep it on a competitive footing with traditional petroleum-based alternatives. SRI also finds that there has been a significant geographic shift in the source of production. Where Europe accounted for 83 percent of global biodiesel output in 2002, by last year that figure had dropped to 46 percent. The biggest gains during the last half decade were recorded in North America and Asia, where total biodiesel production rose to 23 and 19 percent, respectively.
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