Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was "not a good policy", according to a Reuters report. The admission comes weeks before tax credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31.
"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.
"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 former vice president said.
As vice president, Gore cast the decisive 51st vote in favor of the ethanol tax credit in 1994. U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline.
Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion in 2009 according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy.
"First generation ethanol I think was a mistake,” said Gore. "It's hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."