Why is biofuel important?

Biofuels are important for many reasons. First, biofuels may be derived from resources available in the United States. Currently, we rely on imported oil to produce gasoline for vehicles. Getting oil imported relies on trade agreements, shipping, and many other factors related to international trade. In addition, 93% of our transportation fuels come from petroleum, unlike other energy sectors which can rely on several sources of energy.  Biofuels are a promising alternative for liquid type transportation fuel that historically comes from petroleum.

This graph illustrates that 36% of our energy comes from petroleum, 26% from natural gas, 20% from coal, 9% from renewable energy, and 8% from nuclear electric power.  This graph also illustrates that 93% of our transportation fuels come from petroleum.  (Graph from U.S. Energy Information Administration / Annual Energy Review 2011)

While other sources of renewable energy such as wind, water, and solar energy, are useful for electric power, residential or commercial purposes, and even industrial purposes; none of these sources are well suited for the transportation sector. Biofuels meanwhile are designed for liquid type fuels primarily used in transportation.  

This image illustrates a way we can take advantage of the landscape to produce multiple sources of renewable energy, including perennial grasses for biofuels. The windmills in the background are better suited for producing electricity. Photo credit to National Renewable Energy Laboratory