I wish I had the links handy, but one paper on the net I saw said that corn-ethanol (as produced currently in the USA) produces 10% more energy than it consumes in production, but sugar-cane-ethanol (as produced currently in Brazil) produces 300% more energy than it consumes in production. That's a big difference. Brazil has had 30 years to improve its processes, and the USA is just getting started.
I also read that an inventor is seeking to test his system that uses the heat from composting to distill ethanol, which would allow farmers to produce their own ethanol, and be much more efficient in terms of energy expenditure.
I'm sure that after 30 years, the USA will have greatly increased its efficiency of producing ethanol, as well as other energy sources (for power-plants as well as cars) rivaling Brazil's current efficiencies. But it will take work and time, and must not be prevented from getting started.