Anyone picked up on the biofuels ruse yet? . . . however apparently there is simply no energy benefit in using them- as fossil fuels are necessary for almost every stage of the industrial farming and refinement processes they actually take 30%more energy to produce than the finished fuel produces....
This is incorrect. Your objection was true maybe 5-6 years ago, but not today. Fossil fuels are no longer necessary for the refinement processes of biofuels, since renewable energy will work just fine: the refinement of ethanol, for example, requires only heat, and there is no reason why that heat could not be produced by electricity, steam, solar energy, or similar means.
Regarding ethanol, it should be kept in mind that this fuel is only 10% corn-based, while 90% is still gasoline. So, ethanol extends the possibilities of gasoline consumption by 1/10, but in no way supplants it. The fuel known as E85 pushes that percentage to 15% biofuel, 85% gasoline, but special engines must be manufactured in order to use E85, unlike ethanol, which can be used in virtually all standards engines today. In other words, the usefulness of ethanol, with its 10% extension of fuel consumption, is a temporary boon from one perspective, but hardly an answer in the end.
There is more to say about ethanol, however: It is tricky for the US farmer.
On the one hand, the popularity of ethanol, a corn-based fuel, brings a higher price for corn, which is great for corn producers. On the other hand, corn is a basic feed staple for livestock, including cattle and hogs, so the higher the price for corn the more that livestock producers must pay in order to feed their animals. And since most farmers in the US raise both corn *and* livestock, the popularity of ethanol could drive up the price of corn and threaten the ability to raise livestock, which would be disastrous for farmers and bad for the price of food as well! Very, very few people outside of the midwest agriculture community are aware of these dangers, though there is increasing evidence that an over-exuberance for ethanol may be mimicking the mid-90s fad for internet stocks.
So are biofuels a 'ruse' to be cynically dismissed out of hand? No. They are indeed advantageous now and the environment would benefit if we were to begin using them sooner rather than later (Brazil has done much with fuels produced from sugar cane).
But at the same time, biofuels by themselves provide no magic answers to the current energy crisis either (in this I agree with gek's point). Which is why informed opinions are more helpful than summary dismissals!