Energy Secretary Doesn’t See Future for Ethanol, After Billions in Subsidies

By Susan Jones | November 30, 2010 | 10:28 AM EST

A tanker leaves the Tall Corn Ethanol plant in Coon Rapids, Iowa. (AP File Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

( - "Ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel," Energy Secretary Stephen Chu told a gathering at the National Press Club in Washington on Monday.

Chu said the Energy Department "is much more focused on developing new, commercially-viable transportation technologies -– biomass and sugar, for example -– to make gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Those won't require changing the transportation infrastructure, including pipelines."

Ethanol, a gasoline additive, has received billions of dollars in federal subsidies, as Politico reported on Tuesday.

Politico also reported that the Environmental Protection Agency -- responding to a congressional mandate -- will require that 13.95 billion gallons of transportation fuel come from renewable sources in 2011, up from 12.95 billion gallons in 2010.

Chu didn’t say whether he thought Congress should extend the 45-cent per gallon tax credit for ethanol that's set to expire by the end of the year, but he did say the future of transportation fuels should not involve ethanol.

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