"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol," Reuters quoted Gore saying of the U.S. policy that is about to come up for congressional review. "First-generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.
"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president," the wire service reported Gore saying.
Credits for corn ethanol subsidies expire at the end of the year unless Congress moves to renew the $7.7 billion annual program. Opponents of the corn subsidies say that it removes valuable food products from the table because the U.S. ethanol industry drives up the price of corn.
The lesson here is that the push for alcohol fuels was never about efficiency but about money and politics. In hindsight, and with all due respect to the member posting all the pro-alcohol stories, ethanol was never carbon neutral, and because ethanol does not contain the energy of hydrocarbons you have to buy and burn more ethanol to obtain the same amount of actual work. Finally, as many owners of older cars have discovered to their horror, fuel systems are not designed to work with alcohol and the gaskets and other soft parts were destroyed by alcohol. New cars are designed to work with both fuels (so they say) and cost more money for the additional components.