On July 31, 2013, INEOS Bio, a bioenergy company, announced that its Florida facility became the world pioneer in producing commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is a renewable fuel resulting from fermenting plant-based materials. INEOS Bio produces cellulosic ethanol using vegetative and yard waste. Despite the flurry that accompanied last July’s event, Brazil is still regarded as the country that implemented the most successful ethanol industry in the world —the sugarcane ethanol industry. In the United States, the ethanol industry touches on two critical areas. First, ethanol can be used as motor fuel, and it is no secret that the United States relies on motor fuel. Second, the nation’s reliance on motor fuel, especially gasoline, raises significant environmental concerns, notably, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thus, given the recent advancements in ethanol production, and the critical areas that ethanol touches on, an issue emerges as to whether Brazil’s ethanol policy model can be instructive to the United States’ fledgling cellulosic ethanol industry. This Note seeks to suggest changes to the tax benefits of the U.S. cellulosic ethanol industry. This Note argues, primarily by focusing on federal tax policies and environmental effects linked with ethanol, (1) the trajectory of the United States’ corn and cellulosic ethanol industries; and (2) the trajectory of Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol industry. This Note then (1) reviews the relevant existing literature addressing ethanol; (2) compares and contrasts the federal ethanol tax benefits of the United States’ and Brazil’s ethanol industries; (3) compares and contrasts these industries’ impact on the respective country’s environment; and (4) explains why Brazil’s tax benefits should encourage the United States to implement similar benefits. This Note concludes that revising some of the U.S. cellulosic ethanol tax benefits, following Brazil’s ethanol industry tax benefits, will likely spur the U.S. cellulosic ethanol industry, which would ultimately result in significant environmental benefits.
A Spoonful of Sugarcane Ethanol: A Green Tax Medicine for the Cellulosic Ethanol Industry.
Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology.
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