Show Us Your Lightsaber Or You Will Be Fined

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.


  1. Highway:

    I wonder if people who realize that fines levied on corporations will raise prices are the same ones who think that increasing taxes on corporations shouldn't raise prices, because the tax increases "should come out of profits". Or maybe they just think that both cases 'should come out of profits', and there should never be a price increase.

  2. panzersage12:

    Wow, this is a genius approach by the government to raise taxes.

    Next step, anyone who can't prove that their dilithium crystal reactors are functioning must pay a tax.

  3. SChaser:

    I just hope my relative's patent in cellulosic ethanol production pays off before someone wakes up and realizes what a crock all this stuff is!

  4. marco73:

    Anybody with any brains is of course staying the hell away from cellulosic ethanol production. Only scammers and charlatans are involved.
    There is just no way that you can truck bales of hay around, and expect to generate fuel from it. They would be better off looking at harnessing energy from unicorn farts.

  5. caseyboy:

    Come on this can't be true. Coyote, you have recorded some pretty bazaar government behavior, but now you are pulling our leg. The EPA mandating that businesses meet a certain criteria which relies on a non-existent product. Yeah right. You almost had me. Call me a "cellulosic" skeptic.

  6. Pat Moffitt:

    I used to own a lab- EPA mandated new glassware to be used for a change in a mass spec method. Problem was - no-one made the equipment. We had to go out and have the glassware custom made to meet the imposed time deadline. Doesn't surprise me.