Hillary responded by laughing (which apparently has replaced the reflective pause as her preferred stalling technique), and then saying that yes, ethanol isn't the most efficient, but it is not entirely responsible for high food prices and inflation. She then went on to defend corn ethanol as a necessary step in a "transition" period from dependence on foreign oil.
Corn ethanol is a scam that helps no one but corn farmers. Robert Bryce puts it best:
"The ethanol scam is the longest running robbery of taxpayers in American history. Some recent news reports . . . include a report showing [that] corn-based ethanol releases [more] greenhouse gases than fossil fuels. That’s just one indictment of the inefficiency of the whole process. It’s also fiscal insanity—providing 51 cent per gallon subsides for making fuel from what’s already the most subsidized crop."
"In 2005 federal corn subsidies approached $9.4 billion, which is around the entire budget of the Department of Commerce, with 39,000 employees. It also takes orders of magnitude more water to make corn ethanol than [is used for] gasoline production. Given the problems in the West and Southwest with water, it’s insane to think we’re going to be able to produce sufficient ethanol to make a dent in gasoline use when the amount of water needed is so high."
Corn ethanol epitomizes everything that's wrong with public policy. We're subsidizing this industry, even though it's cost ineffective and there are better alternatives available. Not only does it make no economic sense, but there is no energy efficiency or environmental advantage! Ethanol actually produces more greenhouse gases than gasoline, it contributes to high food prices (including corn and dairy), and its fires are harder to put out. Even Paul Krugman hates it!