A tax you pay at the pump:
WASHINGTON — 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.
Penalizing the fuel suppliers demonstrates what happens when the federal government really, really wants something that technology is not ready to provide.
This is like the incandescent light bulb insanity. Your betters decide your lights use too much electricity so they make them illegal. Never mind that there is no acceptable substitute. First they come for the 100 watts, and you don't speak out because you don't use 100 watts. Then they come for the 75's.... And if they had gotten their way, we'd all be awash in mercury from broken soft-serve ice cream bulbs. The fact that every single voter hates those bulbs is the only thing that (hopefully) saved us.
The government wants ethanol, so they crowbar corn into our gas tanks and off of our tables. Meaning we have to pay more for corn and meat. So the government mandates ethanol made from waste cellulose, which doesn't exist. And raises our gas prices because it doesn't.
And this is the balance they've struck. We pay more for gas. We pay more for food. The government gets income in the form of fines which the EPA can use in its quest to fix our lives even further.
I know, by the way, that $6.8 million is a drop in the bucket (har) to the big thinkers in Washington. Look at Solyandra, it's costing us a hundred times that. Look at all the EPA does in its relentless drive to make us sparkle and smell like butterflies. Even if you take out Obama's fraud and kickbacks, they shovel our money into open sewers on an industrial scale.
Here's the thing. The economy isn't great. We shouldn't be "investing" in things we don't want. Not in gasoline made from unobtanium, not in unwanted high speed rail, not in light bulbs that don't light, not in more government agencies to regulate us down to our underpants. We won't improve doctors by making them government employees, or schools by adding second breakfasts.
Couldn't we try not being stupid?
In fact, I think we'd be miles ahead if we could just shut down this government for a while. Give the Chicago swindler a pat on the back and say, "You know, I think you've fixed everything. Why don't you just sit out this last year and try to fathom your own goodness."