A key assumption Jay Inslee makes concerning his plans for a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is wrong—very wrong. Inslee builds much of his “clean fuel” claims on the supposed “emergence of a new, purportedly less-costly and more efficient, type of biofuel called “cellulosic” ethanol.” Inslee wrote, “About 2011 meaningful amounts of cellulosic ethanol are becoming available at service stations across the country. … cellulosic ethanol will make a rapid penetration of the market.” His prediction has proved more than just a little inaccurate.
“…There was virtually no cellulosic ethanol available in 2011. Last year, two years after Inslee’s deadline, the EPA was forced to reduce its target for cellulosic biofuel production from 6 million gallons down to 810,185 gallons because it was all that was available. To put that in context, in 2013, the United States consumed 134.51 billion gallons of gasoline according to the Energy Information Administration. Cellulosic biofuel accounted for less than 0.001 percent of total fuel consumed in the United States – about 189 seconds worth of fuel last year.”
The problem behind Inslee’s failed prediction is that his search for a “cost-effective” LCFS plan depends on the “emergence of cellulosic ethanol, which is much lower cost than current biofuels.” Inslee told people to “calm down” about the potential burdensome costs of a LCFS because there is “a million ways” to develop a LCFS. Well, Inslee is wrong. It turns out that “there are only a limited number of ways to design an LCFS,” and Inslee’s involve cellulosic ethanol. Unfortunately for our green governor, as a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows, a sudden increase in the supply of cellulosic ethanol is highly unlikely.
“A low-carbon fuel standard would require much more cellulosic ethanol than the Energy Information Administration estimates will be available. The analysis of the LCFS for the Governor’s climate task force last year assumed the state would double the percentage of biofuel in a gallon of gas. Even assuming all of that 327 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol went to Washington state, it would account for only 13 percent of Washington’s total fuel and would require other types of ethanol to make up the gap – ethanol that is more costly and polluting.”
Let us know what you think. Do you think Inslee will take facts into account, or will he continue to risk the future of Washington State on a false reality?