In recent days, the EPA has decided to cut the amount of cellulosic (non-corn based) ethanol refiners are required to blend into gasoline. After fighting and ignoring court rulings limiting the amount of ethanol to what could actually be produced, the EPA has finally given into reality. It cut the required use of cellulosic ethanol to 6 million gallons, less than half of the previously required 14 million gallons. The EPA is also decided to reduce the overall amount of ethanol used from the 18.15 billion gallon target previously established. How much the overall cut would be and how this will effect mandated levels beyond 2014 is still undetermined.
This goes to show just because you mandate something, doesn’t mean it will come to pass. The limits on cellulosic use stem from the fact that despite government mandates, the technology still doesn’t exist to make cellulosic ethanol easily produced. The second limit is a result of the fact that American’s have determined, and fuel stations reflect, that they just won’t take that much damaging ethanol in their fuel. Gas stations it cities aren’t widely moving to an E-15 blend from the current E-10. And gas stations in more suburban and rural areas aren’t buying ethanol tainted fuels at all. Why? Ethanol can damage automobiles and fuel tanks and lines at stations and reduces fuel economy.
Now would be a perfect time to end the ethanol mandate and subsidies entirely.