How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab

One Reason To Feel Sorry For Oil Companies ...Really

Dejqoak4at61yns2omik
Newscom

They'll probably be fined at the end of this year, too, if the situation continues. And maybe even the next. "It belies logic," said Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association.

He has a point.

The biofuel, known as cellulosic biofuel, is made from wood chips or inedible parts of plants, such as corncobs. Refiners were required to blend 6.6 million gallons into gasoline and diesel in 2011 - with none available. 2012's quota stands at 8.65 million gallons.

The biofuel requirement is part of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reliance on oil from hostile sources like Iran, and the export of dollars to pay for it.

The same law requires that 36 billion gallons of ethanol be blended into U.S. fuel by 2022, even though congress has ended taxpayer-funded subsidies on ethanol, and banned E15 gasoline - gas blended with 15 percent ethanol.

Cellulosic biofuel has so far been difficult to produce in meaningful quantities, but important in meeting the 2022 biofuel targets. Diesel made from biomass and fuel made from biological materials is already available and in use, though it remains to be see whether oil companies are meeting their quotas for these fuels.

Cathy Milbourn, an EPA spokeswoman, says that the EPA still believed the 2011 quota was "reasonably attainable" - despite the experts' assertion to the contrary.

Companies like Poet in Iowa are working on using corn kernels to produce cellulosic biofuel. Mascoma, part-owned by General Motors, will be receiving an $80 million grant from the Energy Department to help build a plant in Kinross, Michigan, to make bio-ethanol from wood waste.

The tax on non-existent biofuel and reduction of support for ethanol are further evidence of the difficulties faced in weaning the nation off fossil fuels.

In the meantime, the oil companies are pointing to new reserves of oil and natural gas in the U.S. as evidence that there's no rush in getting cleaner, low-carbon biofuels to the market.

And they're still making billions of dollars in profit each year. So on second thoughts, maybe we shouldn't feel too sorry for them...
+++++++++++
Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.

This story originally appeared at Green Car Reports

The original version of the story appears here: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1071879_one-reason-to-feel-sorry-for-oil-companies-really


GreenCarReports is the source for news on the leaner, more efficient cars of tomorrow-and today. The site reports on what's coming in the auto industry's future, demonstrates how cars are moving beyond fossil fuels, and explains how the green movement matters to car shoppers today.

About The Author

Ov1sez9dzjzrdbjplsns

Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at igor@talkingpointsmemo.com.