Of course, the Model-T had no plastics to contend with.
I sincerely doubt the veracity of some of the assertions of this article. The 10% ethanol that's currently in gasoline has no appreciable impact on fuel economy, and the alcohol content dries the fuel, which is helpful in damp/cool climates to offset condensation.
I think we all know ethanol from corn is a money loser. The "net energy loss" argument is spurious, however. Charging a battery is a net energy loser, but is anyone suggesting batteries are a bad idea? We need a portable form of energy for the internal combustion engine, and we have to pay a "tax" in order to change the state of that energy from something we have to something we need.
Brazil runs all of their cars (a lot of old vehicles, I might add) on 100% ethanol. The problem here is finite-life engineering; Parts, like plastic fuel pumps, that are designed to fail after the warranty runs out (5-8 years). Detroit used to rely on rust to make people buy new cars (remember the 70s?), but people quickly realized that a paint + patch was cheaper than replacing the car, as long as it was mechanically sound, and no-one pays a dealer to do that.
Now they charge you 900$ for 6$ worth of plastic...