It takes a LOT of fossil fuel to produce enough corn to make ethanol. (Tractors, farm trucks, big rigs & trains to haul, etc.)
It takes a LOT of fossil fuel to actually make the ethanol. Distilleries don't heat themselves.
If you factor in all the little things that are not covered here like fuel to heat the farmer's house, the likely fossil fuels used to produce electricity that farms use (and they use a lot if electricity), I'm not sure that there is a net energy gain from using corn to produce fuel fit for internal combustion engines. The whole ethanol industry reeks of scam. The point is, there are more efficient and cleaner alternatives out there. As long as big money from oil, big agra, etc. continue to control the elected officials that dole out subsidies, tax breaks, and that let these same companies write legislation that affect us, it will continue to be this backwards, ridiculous, B.S.