Forced to buy imaginary fuel, pay government with imaginary money?

A circuit court vacated the EPA’s cellulosic ethanol mandate that required firms to blend cellulosic ethanol with gasoline or face fines. The problem with this mandate was that zero cellulosic ethanol was produced and firms could not blend it. They were being fined for not doing what could not be done. Even Kafka would be surprised at the brazenness.

The rule originated in a 2007 law where the odd couple of Bush and Pelosi got together to elevate hope over reality. They wanted a fuel that could be produced inexpensively from a waste product. Who wouldn't.

So they figured that they could mandate into existence by government fiat. They ruled that refiners MUST blend cellulosic ethanol into gasoline. They created a market for an unavailable product in the belief that they could call it into existence, more or less in the manner of creating wine from water.

This miracle failed to happen. Lots of people talk about cellulosic ethanol, but nobody has been able to make it in any quantity. Or maybe, put another way, it makes much more sense to blend in Jack Daniels or Jim Beam and burn that in our cars and trucks. At least those products are available.

Cellulosic ethanol has been a big disappointment. It should work. It is such a good idea and it would solve so many of our problems. It is a magical solution to our energy needs. The problem with magic is that there is no such thing.

As a tree farmer, cellulosic ethanol could be a big deal for me and I have studied the cellulosic ethanol equation in significant depth. I don't believe it can EVER work, even if a technology is developed that easily converts wood wastes to ethanol. The problem is physical bulk. Raw materials such as forestry waste and corn husks are bulky and they are spread all over the place. Simply gathering it together is a challenge. The problem is moving them to a plant where they could be converted to ethanol and storing them.

If you want to make energy out of wastes such as this, the solution is to burn them directly. Dominion Power is converting some of their coal burning power stations to accept wood chips. This makes sense and I plan to sell chips. It is not as exciting because it is old tech, but it will always be better to convert to energy with fewer steps.

The problem with government experiments is that they cannot easily admit that the experiment has shown it cannot be done. Ethanol from cellulose was a nice idea that was proven impractical by experiment and experience. Give up and move along. There are things we just cannot have, not matter how much we all agree that it should be possible.

As for the EPA fine - maybe if firms are fined for not using imaginary fuel, they can pay with imaginary money.

Posted by Christine & John at January 28, 2013 8:00 PM
Comment #361008

Let’s not and say we did! I like that idea!

Remember when we used to do things because there was a need? I think they used to call it innovation. Ben Franklin didn’t need a government to tie a key to a kite. Thomas Edison didn’t need a government to create a light bulb and the Wright Brothers didn’t need a government to make an airplane. Did they? Maybe I’m mistaken.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 29, 2013 2:19 AM
Comment #361019

Now ain’t that just like a bunch of money grabbing politicians. Mandate the impossible and charge outrageous fines for not doing it.
Government mandates don’t work. They’re usually not very well thought out good intentions at best, and ill conceived ways to get control and/or confiscate money from folks at worst.
The cellulosic ethanol mandate is just another scheme to confiscate money from the oil industry. I don’t know how much research was done on it before it was mandated, but that wouldn’t have mattered to our tax and spend politicians. They needed money and here was a good way to get it. Mandate the impossible and fine the oil companies for not doing it.
The circuit court was right on the money here. Now it has to get past the Supreme Court if the EPA pushes it. And they most likely will with the Obama gang of thugs in charge.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 29, 2013 10:02 AM
Comment #361020

BTW, I reckon the oil companies should pay their fines in imaginary money. The government is paying it’s bills with it.
That brings up another question. Since the Government is spending imaginary money, can I pay my taxes with imaginary money?

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 29, 2013 10:12 AM
Comment #361029

Since the Government is spending imaginary money, can I pay my taxes with imaginary money?
Posted by: Ron Brown at January 29, 2013 10:12 AM

Spending imaginary money…if only that were true. $16.5 Trillion in debt is not imaginary.

I play Texas HoldEm poker on AOL for free chips and I now have over 80 million of them. I plan on using them to pay my taxes.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 29, 2013 3:23 PM
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