Considering that a Ford Model-T got as good or better mileage than most of today’s U.S. automobiles, I guess it’s not suprising that Henry Ford was, according to this 1934 profile, well ahead of the game in biofuels and bioplastics:
Science is discovering means of transforming products of the farm into materials for manufacture. Through his experimental farms, Henry Ford now successfully converts the common soy bean into automobile parts and an oil which makes up 30 per cent of the Ford car finish.
Mr. Ford declares that this plastic industry, this evolution of industrial agriculture, still is in its infancy and that its possibilities and opportunities are limitless. As an example, he points out that his laboratories have produced from the soy bean a tough, hard, yet inexpensive material which stands a pressure of 9,000 pounds without breaking… Ford and his chemists envision the time when automobile bodies, houses, skyscrapers and even great monuments may be fabricated from the soy bean.
Then again: maybe biofuels aren’t such a good idea, anyway.