Airlines: A Fine for Not Using a Biofuel That Doesn’t Exist

Do you know how much a gallon of jet biofuel costs?

The New York Times reports,

When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.

But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.

In 2012, the oil companies expect to pay even higher penalties for failing to blend in the fuel, which is made from wood chips or the inedible parts of plants like corncobs. Refiners were required to blend 6.6 million gallons into gasoline and diesel in 2011 and face a quota of 8.65 million gallons this year.

“It belies logic,” Charles T. Drevna, the president of the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association, said of the 2011 quota. And raising the quota for 2012 when there is no production makes even less sense, he said…

The article notes that Alaska Airlines recently paid $17/gallon for biofuel — conventional jet fuel costs only $3/gallon. Given that fuel costs often determine air line profitability, imagine how much ticket prices would have to increase to support biofuel use.

6 thoughts on “Airlines: A Fine for Not Using a Biofuel That Doesn’t Exist”

  1. Instead of paying their fines in cash, these companies instead should pay the fine with their ‘carbon credits’. That way one scam can be used to fund another!

  2. We have a biofuel that doesn’t exist to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, so why not have a tax that doesn’t exist?

  3. If the Administration is really serious about airlines using biofuels, the Chief Executive should produce a Presidential Order to all Federal agencies and Federal employees forbidding them from using airlines that do not use biofuel jet fuel for government-sponsored travel. That would mean NO government-paid travel for those feeding at the Federal trough.

  4. It is all for the good of the environment. We should be glad to pay whatever price our masters dictate, for they know best. Why would anyone be shocked by being fined just because it is impossible to to comply with regulations. Those companies, knowing the problem, should have gone out and invented the processes. Otherwise, we can’t have innovation by edict.

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