Domestic use of soybean oil for 2011/12 is forecast to rise to 17.75 billion pounds from 16.6 billion this year. Nearly all of next year’s gain is projected for the production of biodiesel, which has been accelerating quickly over the last few months. USDA forecasts that soybean oil used for methyl esters (biodiesel) will expand to 3.6 billion pounds in 2011/12 from 2.4 billion this season.
Likely tempering next year’s increase in domestic soybean oil use will be a higher availability of other edible oils, particularly canola oil. In Canada, a huge canola supply may incite record U.S. quantities for canola oil imports and production (from imported seed). The Environmental Protection Agency does not yet count biodiesel made from canola oil toward meeting the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard for biodiesel. In the absence of that market, canola oil can supply much of the growth in U.S. edible oils consumption. At nearly 4 billion pounds, more canola oil would be used in the United States than any other vegetable oil aside from soybean oil.