We have told you about cellulosic ethanol before. Basically, it is any ethanol not made from corn, and, pursuant to a 2007 law, a certain amount of this stuff must be blended into our gasoline. The problem is that no one knows how to make it in any commercially viable operation, even though the federal government is heavily subsidizing its “production”.
For 2010 and 2011, you, the consumer paid $10 million in “fines” (via higher gas prices) because oil companies did not blend this non-existent material into the gasoline they produced. In spite of these facts, last week the EPA told oil companies that they must blend 8.65 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol into gasoline in 2012.
The good news here is that but for the EPA’s waiver, Congress set the amount at 500 million gallons for 2012.
The [EPA] said [December 27] that a tiny fraction-less than one-tenth of 1%-of renewable fuels required to be used in the U.S. next year will come from cellulosic biofuel, based on projected production volumes, despite a congressional target that fuel made from plant stalks and other inedible materials account for more than 3% of the total.
The bad news is that, absent a technological miracle, you will once again, be forced to pay a penalty because companies fail to blend this into gasoline. This year, the penalty will be $1.20 per gallon for each of the mandated 8.65 million gallons of non-existent material. Last year it was only $1.13 per gallon…inflation?
Looking forward, under the law, by 2022, 16 billion gallons will need to be blended into our gasoline. How attainable is that? Here is what the National Academy of Sciences had to say last year.
[the target won’t be met] unless innovative technologies are developed that unexpectedly improve the cellulosic biofuels process.
Given this, wouldn’t you think that the EPA would just suspend the fines until someone actually makes this junk? Silly me, that would be reasonable, and this, after all, is the EPA.