Crapo, Others Push "Phantom Fuel Reform Act"

By Tom Bacon

Three conservative U-S senators led by Idaho's Mike Crapo aim to cripple the EPA's push to add more cellulosic biofuels to U.S. gasoline. They've introduced a bill they call the "Phantom Fuel Reform Act."

Crapo said it's ridiculous for the EPA to require refiners to add millions of gallons of cellulosic fuel to gasoline even if it's not being produced.
Contrasted with corn-based ethanol, cellulosic fuel is made from wood and plant scraps.  Crapo said that the EPA is requiring refiners to add 14 million gallons of the biofuel to their output this year, even though nowhere near that amount will be produced. Worse, energy producers will have to buy paper credits for the "phantom fuel" directly from the agency at a cost of millions of dollars. The waiver credits cost 78 cents a gallon.

But an alternative fuel trade group insists the federal policy is working. Fuels America said that millions of gallons of the biofuel will be on the market in the next two years. The biofuels are projected to be an important element in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, much as corn ethanol is now.

Crapo and his senatorial colleagues from Arizona and Louisiana want the the EPA to rely on actual production, rather than - as they put it - a bureaucratic prediction - when setting biofuel mandates.

The Renewable Fuel Standard requires refiners to buy more than 16 billion gallons of renewable fuels this year, most of that from corn-based ethanol.
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