I’m just a dumb hick who likes to watch television. In fact most nights you can find me dozing off in front of the TV. I admit it and I will also admit that I enjoy it.
Well last week I was in my usual position in my easy chair watching the TV when somehow I clicked on a channel that had a show on about Brazil and how after the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74 they stood up and said “Were Mad as Hell and We Are Not Going To Take it Anymore”.
So, the Country of Brazil, which now has (according to the CIA Factbook) 186 Million People, told the Arabs to take their oil and SHOVE IT! They started refining Ethanol from Sugar Cane and today 85% of all the cars and trucks in Brazil run on this cheaper than oil Ethanol. I think the show I was watching was on the National Geographic Channel or A & E or Discovery or whatever. But the point is I found out that the Country of Brazil had enough foresight and just plain determination to make sure they were never again held hostage by Arab Oil. Furthermore, when the supply of oil finally does run out, which it will do, the Brazilian Economy will not grind to a halt like ours will. They will just keep on rolling along!
Now one of the most interesting things I learned from watching this show was that General Motors and a few other American car manufacturers, are down there in Brazil manufacturing the cars that use this Ethanol. They call them Flex Fuel Cars and they can run entirely on Ethanol, entirely on Gasoline or on any combination of the two. The only physical difference between these cars and the gas guzzlers produced in the U.S. is a Flex Fuel Gas Tank and a small computer that tells the engine which fuel or combination of fuels is in the tank!
Now some of you are thinking that we already have some Flex Fuel Cars in the United States that will run on Ethanol. True, but there are two big differences. Here the only vehicles running on this stuff are usually fleet vehicles belonging to the gas company or the electric company or the phone company etc. as experiments. The other major difference is that Ethanol is basically UNAVAILABLE to the General Public. As of this writing there are only 4 places to get Ethanol in the entire State of California. The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, The Lawrence Livermore Lab, Vandenberg Air Force Base and the San Diego Regional Transportation Center!
In BRAZIL it is available at every gas station in the Country! Why? Because the Brazilian Government passed a law mandating that every gasoline station in Brazil must sell Ethanol. Not just some stations or a few stations but EVERY Station. They can also sell gasoline if they want to but they are not required by law to do so. What is the price difference? Ethanol is about 1/2 the price of a litre of gasoline in Brazil.
To learn more about Ethanol check out these two web sites:
http://www.e85fuel.com/index.php and http://www.ethanol.org/
Why can’t we do the same thing as Brazil? Why can’t we become Oil Independent instead of Oil Dependant? You tell me? I posted this article in Culture and Politics. What controls our dependence on Oil. Is it our Culture or our Politicians. Again I say, You tell me!