Federal Government Mandates Use Of Ethanol That Doesn’t Actually Exist
As part of the federal government’s on-going efforts to shove ethanol down our collective throats, gasoline refiners are required to blend a certain amount of cellulosic ethanol (a different category from corn or sugar-based ethanol) into the fuel they produce. The problem? There’s not enough cellulosic ethanol available to meet federal standards.
In fact, according to EPA records, there is no cellulosic ethanol available on the market at all.
Not surprisingly, groups representing the oil industry filed a complaint with the EPA over being fined for not using ethanol that doesn’t actually exist on the market, but the EPA has apparently rejected their complaint finding nothing wrong with fining refiners who don’t use ethanol that, again, doesn’t actually exist.
The American Petroleum Institute strongly criticized the US Environmental Protection Agency 3 days after it rejected petitions from API, two other oil and gas industry associations, and a refiner to waive requirements for cellulosic biofuels that the petitions said do not exist.
“In all cases, the objections raised in the petition either were or could have been raised during the comment period on the proposed rule, or are not of central relevance to the outcome of the rule because they do not provide substantial support for the argument that the Renewable Fuel Standard program should be revised as suggested by petitioners,” EPA told API, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, Western States Petroleum Association, and Coffeyville (Kan.) Resources Refining & Marketing on May 22.
“EPA’s mandate is out of touch with reality and forces refiners to pay a penalty for not using imaginary biofuels,” Bob Greco, API’s downstream and industry operations director, said on May 25. “EPA’s unrealistic mandate is effectively an added tax on making gasoline.”
Greco said the Clean Air Act requires EPA to determine the mandated volume of cellulosic biofuels each year at “the projected volume available.” However, in 2011 EPA required refineries to use 6.6 million gal of cellulosic biofuels even though, according to EPA’s own records, none were commercially available, Greco said.
This is a real world Catch-22. If you want to blend cellulosic ethanol you can’t because there’s no ethanol available and you pay a fine. If you don’t want to blend ethanol you pay a fine.
Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
The result isn’t a fine for not blending cellulosic ethanol. The result is just another tax on people who produce our fuel.
Remember that the next time you’re upset about gas prices.Tags: cellulosic ethanol, epa, ethanol, Gas Prices