Note, A Spoonful of Sugarcane Ethanol: A Green Tax Medicine for the Cellulosic Ethanol Industry

38 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2014

See all articles by Ke M. Huang

Ke M. Huang

University of California, Davis

Date Written: July 14, 2014


As more ethanol plants throughout the United States produce cellulosic ethanol at a commercial level, ethanol policies must catch up. Cellulosic ethanol, regarded as more sensible than corn ethanol in several environmental criteria, is a biofuel made of nonfood materials. Policies to spur cellulosic ethanol — especially tax incentives — were in place even when cellulosic ethanol was experimental, but circumstances have changed.

In the United States’ southern neighbor Brazil, however, a “green” sugarcane ethanol has been produced for almost 40 years. While many commentators and scholars have analyzed corn ethanol policies under the lens of sugarcane ethanol policies, there is little literature about cellulosic ethanol.

This Note aims to suggest tax incentive revisions related to the U.S. cellulosic ethanol industry. After reviewing the background information and evaluating the existing literature, the Note suggests that, for various environmental reasons, the U.S. tax policies of cellulosic ethanol industry should (1) eliminate sunset provisions and (2) offer more information about the tax expenditures.

Keywords: ethanol, INEOS Bio, cellulosic ethanol, Brazil, energy law, environmental law, sugarcane ethanol, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, land use, tax, tax policy, biodiversity, corn ethanol

JEL Classification: K34, K32, N50, O13, Q24, Q25, Q28, N70, Q42, Q48

Suggested Citation

Huang, Ke M., Note, A Spoonful of Sugarcane Ethanol: A Green Tax Medicine for the Cellulosic Ethanol Industry (July 14, 2014). 15 Minn. J. L. Sci. & Tech. 1117 (2014), Available at SSRN:

Ke M. Huang (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis ( email )

Davis, CA
United States

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