The U.S. Department of Energy has supported a research and development program for the establishment of renewable, biomass-derived, liquid fuels for the better part of the last twenty years. These 'biofuels' represent opportunities to respond to uncertainties about our energy security and the future health of our environment. Throughout its history, the Biofuels Program has experienced an ongoing fiscal 'roller coaster'. Funding has ebbed and flowed with changing political and public attitudes about energy. The program was initiated in a flood of funding in the late 1970s related to the energy shortages experienced in that period. The flooding turned rapidly to drought as falling oil prices dissipated public concern about energy supplies. In the late 1980s, funding for the program slowly increased, driven by national security issues.