This year, US oil refiners will pay more than $6 million in fines to the EPA for not using a product that doesn't exist. Refiners are required to blend at least 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol this year, or pay a fine to the EPA of $1 per gallon of this target not met.
But here is the funny part - no cellulosic ethanol exists for refiners to buy, even by the EPA's own analysis. The product simply does not exist in any more than pilot plant / experimental volumes. But that is not stopping the EPA from imposing the fines, which will get passed on into gasoline prices.
Here is the saddest part, from a defender of the cellulosic mandates:
Next-generation ethanol advocates say that small-scale commercial production of the fuel is just around the corner. When the EPA proposal was released yesterday, one advocate blamed the oil and gas industry for slow progress.
“America’s advanced and cellulosic ethanol industry is rapidly progressing with many technologies proven and biorefinery projects shovel-ready. Yet, advanced biofuel producers continue to sail into a head wind created by tax policy favoring oil and gas,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council, in a statement.
What in the hell are they talking about? Their plants get their construction subsidized with public financing, the oil industry is required to buy their product, trade barriers exist to limit foreign competition. These guys are not fighting a headwind, they are trying to hit a golf ball downwind in a hurricane and they still can't clear the lady's tee.