Saturday, October 08, 2005

Brazil better prepared for end of oil than us, switching to alcohol fuel

It's very likely that the world's oil supply has peaked and can only decline from here, and the most obvious evidence for that is the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq, which has the world's second largest oil reserves.

This can be an extremely uncomfortable and even catastrophic situation for America and the world, but it doesn't have to be.

Brazil is already shifting to using plant based alcohol fuel, using flexible fuel cars that can use any combination of gasoline and alcohol, and incredibly, these cost no more than conventional cars.

Right now, this is being blocked in the US by oil companies, through disinformation, and legislative impediments in oil states like California.

But we cannot let our economy be strangled and kids sent to die in the Middle East just so oil companies can enjoy record profits and squeeze every last dime out the dwindling oil supply. They are the only ones that will be hurt if we start to switch NOW.

Even the people in the Middle East will benefit from us switching away from oil. When we do, we will no longer have any incentive to prop up dictators over there, which pisses people off and makes them become terrorists, and even if a country there dislikes us, they won't have the money to do anything about it.

Yahoo! News
Brazil fights oil prices with alcohol

By Andrew Downie, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
Fri Oct 7, 4:00 AM ET

Regular car engines will run fine on a 10 percent blend of alcohol and gasoline. But by using computer sensors that adjust to whatever mix is in the tank, flex car engines run on either ethanol, gasoline, or any combination of the two. And they have been roaring out of dealerships here since Volkswagen sold the first TotalFlex Golf in March 2003.

Today, flex cars are outselling traditional gasoline models. In August, 62 percent of new cars sold were flex, according to industry numbers. "Demand has been unbelievable," says Barry Engle, the new president of Ford Brasil. "I am hard-pressed to think of any other technology that has been such a success so quickly."

As many countries reexamine their dependence on petroleum fields for fuel, Brazil offers a model for how to make the switch to cane, beet, wheat, or corn fields. The successful transition here comes down to many factors, but price is the primary one, experts say.

Unlike hybrids sold in the US, for example, flex cars sold in Brazil don't cost any more than traditional models. In fact, some models are only available with flex engines now. Ethanol engines use 25 percent more ethanol per mile than gasoline. But ethanol (the alcohol produced by fermenting sugar) usually sells at somewhere between a third to half of the price of gas. Even people who were reluctant to take the plunge and buy a flex say they have been won over by the savings.


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