Cellulosic ethanol, at least as defined by the EPA, is any ethanol made from plant material that is not corn. This is good because we are currently turning approximately 40% of our corn production into ethanol, thus driving up the cost of virtually everything we eat. However, it is bad for oil refiners, and you, in the long run, but you will never guess why.
The 2007 Energy Bill passed by Congress not only demanded that ever increasing amounts of corn ethanol be blended into our gasoline, but it also demanded that cellulosic ethanol be blended into our gasoline. This year, the EPA required that oil refiners blend 6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol into gasoline.
So far, so good.
But, there is a small problem. So far this year, manufacturers of cellulosic ethanol, who, by the way, have been heavily subsidized by your tax dollar, have produced…nothing.
The EPA has only approved a single plant to sell the stuff…but it shut down its cellulosic operations earlier this year to work through technical snafus.
Given these facts, any rational administration would simply suspend this mandate until we actually produced cellulosic ethanol. Not the EPA.
As a result of their failure to blend a non-existent material into gasoline, the EPA has “allowed” oil refiners to obtain “waivers”… it will cost them $1.13 for each gallon of the non-existent cellulosic ethanol they failed to blend. This cost will, of course be passed on to you, the consumer.
Next year, the EPA is proposing we blend up to 15.7 million gallons of so far non-existent cellulosic ethanol into our gasoline, and, I would suppose that there will be more “waivers” available for a price.
Wait a minute, this could work.
All we need to do is have the EPA mandate 80 gazillion gallons of non-existent stuff be blended into gasoline, or, the oil refiners will pay a penalty of $1.13 for each non-existent gallon.
Deficit problem solved.