Brazil is God’s own country when it comes to producing sugar. Blessed with favorable weather and huge acreage devoted to producing sugar cane, it isn’t any surprise that the country turned to these high rise stalks when they were face to face with an oil crunch. With high oil prices in the 1970’s, Brazil was quietly waging a war against its oil dependency. The high prices of the petroleum were eroding the country’s economy and the military regime took a bold step to go where no country had ever gone before.
With the help of massive subsidies and tax breaks, the farmers of Brazil found it beneficial to plant more sugar. Distilleries started springing up to convert the sugar cane into ethanol and vehicle designers produced cars that were able to run on the bio-fuel. The government was able to construct the infrastructure that would bring this fuel to gasoline stations. Though the change didn’t happen without its share of pain and tears, Brazilians managed to kick their oil habit and embraced this renewable fuel with a vengeance. In today’s scenario, while other countries around the world are struggling with spiraling oil prices, Brazil’s foresight has made it’s economy steady and a world leader in producing Ethanol.
Today nearly half of all fuel pumped by Brazilians comes from sugar cane. The benefits of ethanol has proved staggering, by saving billions of dollars that would otherwise go to the Middle East. In addition, the establishment of mills in rural Brazil has boosted the local economies by providing jobs for thousands of people. Thirty years of patriotism has ultimately paid off and the new technology has made things even smoother. The emergence of the new flex fuel cars that run on pure gasoline, pure ethanol or a combination of two, has made the sale of such cars zoom up to the proportion that nearly all of the cars now sold in Brazil are flex-fueled.
Brazil has shown to the world what a focused nation can do and how wars can be fought without armies. Just take a moment to think about the costs of laying petroleum pipelines to supply oil, and then think about protecting these investments from terrorists or damage. The numbers will quickly add up and it comes as no surprise why ethanol is so successful in the country of Brazil. The product is locally grown, produced, and delivered to gasoline stations, all of which are in close proximity to each other. This is one of the reasons why ethanol costs less than conventional gas.
There are certainly lessons to be learned form Brazil. When forced to look at alternatives, Brazil turned to nature and used its biggest asset, the sugar fields to build an ethanol empire. This has helped create both wealth for the country as well as a cleaner environment. The result today is that the whole world looks up to Brazil as an example of the successes of alternative fuels.