Al Gore admits that his support of ethanol was all about politics. It was about his desire to win over voters in Iowa and the farm states.
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was "not a good policy", weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.More to the point, ethanol is still not a good alternative since it shifts production of corn and corn products from food to fuel. That increases the costs and benefits no one but the large agriprocessors who produce the corn and then turn it into ethanol.
U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline. The credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31.
Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy.
"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.
"First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.
"It's hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."
He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions.
"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."
This is a farm subsidy that deserves to be killed, and one that would save taxpayers nearly $8 billion directly, and even more indirectly as food costs are likely to drop as production pressures decline.