The U.S.'s course of providing cleaner and cheaper fuel while having less dependence on foreign oil has been a subject of much debate. Some believe in drilling domestic oil would provide the best course, others in increasing ethanol production, or pushing for electric powered vehicles. Whichever route the U.S. chooses, it better be fast as gas is pressing $4 per gallon.
In contrast, the cellulosic ethanol industry has produced 0 gallons of ethanol through 2011. This is alarming due to the fact that the federal mandate called for 250 million gallons to be produced in 2011 and 16 billion gallons to be produced by 2022. Wallace Tyner, co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences panel, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University and co-director of the Center for Research on Energy Systems and Policy stated, “Whereas the technology and costs of making ethanol fuel from corn are well known, cellulosic on the other hand is new technology. We don’t know how it works. We don’t know how much it will cost. There are no plants in operation. Here we are in 2011 at 0 gallons and we have to get to 16 billion gallons by 2022. That’s double or triple how fast ethanol fuel became commercially viable. Everybody in the industry wants to build the fourth or fifth plant. Nobody wants to build the first.”