I’m getting tired of being left, holding the bag

Cellulosic ethanol is a pipe dream. And yet, you and I are paying for that pipedream, and paying dearly.  We’ve posted on this subject before, but here is a recap, as well as more information.

In 2006, those in Washington, who deem themselves far smarter than Sir Isaac Newton, decided to mandate that a certain amount of our fuel contain cellulosic ethanol, i.e., ethanol not made from corn.  In 2007, President Bush signed legislation giving a tax credit of $1.13 per gallon for each gallon of cellulosic ethanol produced, and, to insure that this junk had a market, Congress mandated that 100 million barrels be blended into our gasoline in 2010, 250 million barrels in 2011, and 500 million barrels in 2012.

We have also thrown millions in borrowed taxpayer dollars at this project.  And here is what we know after 4 years…it doesn’t work. 

Earlier this year, the only plant licensed to sell it closed down to work out “technical difficulties”.  But, that has not stopped this administration.  In August we threw $510 million at the “industry” to produce “advanced biofuels” for the military.  And, in September, “loaned” $134 million to Abengoa Bioenergy to build a plant in Kansas, and another $105 million to a company called POET to produce this ethanol.  In total, since 2007, we have thrown some $1.5 billion at this industry, and, we have virtually nothing to show for it.

Were that not enough, the EPA  forced oil companies to pay some $10 million in 2010 and 2011 for failing to blend this non existent junk into our gasoline.  Of course, you and I paid that in the form of higher fuel prices.

If possible, it gets better.  The National Academy of Sciences has this to say about the mandates,

…[they] may be an ineffective way to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions….[due to] the high cost of producing cellulosic biofuels compared with petroleum-based fuels, and uncertainties in future biofuel markets.


…currently, no commercially viable biorefineries exist for converting cellulosic biomass to fuel.

But, we mush along.  We mandate the use of a non-existent product, throw money at in the hopes that someone will figure out how to make the product, and then tax ourselves for not using said non-existent product.

And, as always, the taxpayer is left holding the bag for Congress’s grandiose, impractical thoughts.  We’ve spent $1.5 billion to produce nothing, and an additional $10 million because we didn’t consume what we couldn’t produce.

Let me suggest the following to Congress…if something is technologically feasible and cost efficient, it is far more likely private industry will find it, not the government.  And, once it is found, not only will the taxpayer not have to fund it, but, it will actually save the taxpayer money. 


21 replies
  1. gillie28
    gillie28 says:

    SOS – good post.? What I don’t understand is why not go with what we already know works as a cheap, efficient, environmentally harmless way to power trucks and cars: natural gas.? The US has it in abundance.? In Europe NG vehicles are quite common now and cars are fairly easy and cheap to retrofit, and are completely safe (never heard of a problem).? However, in the US there are SO many bureacratic rules and regulations surrounding retrofitting that it is much more expensive and complicated to do.? Also, refuelling is?challenging.? But, it would make a lot more sense (to me anyway) than experimenting with all these other systems, especially those that would require huge additional strain on the electric grid, AND cause rise in products made with biofuel grains.

  2. johnboy111
    johnboy111 says:

    let’s not foget to factor in the dammage this stuff does to all small engines??retains more water and rusts out your motor from the inside..give me more GOV???

  3. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    It’s all about the drilling: they don’t like having to do with what it takes to get the gas.? Probably why many of them are veggies!? Heck, if they won’t even allow a pipeline……

  4. Anybody but Obama
    Anybody but Obama says:

    one thing about using natural gas is you are not allowed to use the tunnels and you have to go around the George Washington Bridge

    • gillie28
      gillie28 says:

      wow, that’s interesting…never knew that.? Don’t think that’s a requirement in Europe and have NEVER heard of any problems.? Tanks are well-insulated against explosive potential.

  5. Plainvillian
    Plainvillian says:

    ?The whole ethanol boondoggle was/is vote buying in agricultural states that costs us all and is based on the frantic braying of environmental fanatics pushing wealth redistribution based on a discredited theory.? Is this the time to consider sunest provisions for all laws?? Is now the time to review all agencies and their regulations for cost and effectiveness??
    Oh wait, that would impact the entire political structure.? We can’t have the political class threatened, can we?? Never mind.

  6. SeeingRed
    SeeingRed says:

    Ahh, the high cost of satiating the enviro-Lefties.? It’s not the success of the project/product but the good intentions that score points.? Not sure what the RINO’s get out of it other than keeping the granny-glasses types from protesting on thier front door steps.? Besides, it’s someone elses money (ours).

  7. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Since the post is about “cellulosic ethanol, i.e., ethanol not made from corn”,? what is the ear of corn doing in the picture?

  8. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Too bad New England does not have an ethanol producing industry. If that were the case the complaints would be minimal as they are in the corn producing states. Could EB be shut down (howls) and converted to ethanol production (cheers)?

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      Actually, New England has plenty of trees and other plants, which can be used to produce cellulosic ethanol.?? We can strip Maine and NH like they did at the turn of the century!
      Oh wait!?? The greenies won’t like that either.

  9. RoBrDona
    RoBrDona says:

    The ethanol industry is 100% propped up by production incentives and protectionist tariffs. The FACT that the industry cannot stand on its own and never will should automatically kill it. But wait!? The basic laws of economics be damned! Instead let’s focus on failed science and pork barrel politics to the benefit of a few and the detriment of all. Yay! Oh to be a Democrat…..

  10. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    Because an illustration containing an ear of corn accompanies this post ?about?cellulosic ethanol, it’s okay to waste billions further booning the doggle.

  11. JBS
    JBS says:

    Cellulosic ethanol can be produced in a laboratory, Thus the Regime thinking goes, it can be mass produced. No, it can’t. Even with all of the money being thrown at it making that so, the cellulosic ethanol “industry”, another “greenie” f leasing venture, can’t make cellulosic ethanol on an industrial scale. The Regime’s answer is to keep throwing money at it much the same way they are “funding” “green ” companies in the hope that some or even one of them will thrive.
    I wonder if the “gift money” from the DOE comes with a SASE? along with a suggestion as to the amount of the contribution, all to be sent directly to the DNC.

  12. ricbee
    ricbee says:

    You can thank the GOP for ethanol. They’ll pander for a vote as well as any dirty Dem. With YOUR money,honey.

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