October 24, 2008

Sugar Craving

Meet Bonitão.

He's got a sweet tooth.

That's right, our new car eats sugar.

Sugar cane that it. Well, the ethanol made from it. Already we are saving a lot on our fuel costs. Which is exciting given that we pay USD$5.50 a gallon for gasoline. (In a country where the majority survive on less than the minimum wage of USD$200 a month -- which probably goes a long way to explaining my previous post on Brazilian fuel efficiency.)

Ethanol is costing today about USD $3.20 a gallon. Of course you don't get quite as good mileage but still it's a considerable savings.

All this also has to be taken into the context that Brazil is now 100% fuel independent. It doesn't need to import anything. So the costs reflect both production and demand, and while I'm sure bureaucracy is certainly involved on a domestic level, the cost doesn't reflect the ups and downs of foreign relations.

Sugar cane is a much better and more efficient crop to turn into ethanol. Even with the problems of slash and burn cultivation, it is a lot better for the environment than corn. You can read more about it in this NY Times article from a couple years ago.

I must say that our one and only gripe with Obama is his continued support of tariffs on Brazilian ethanol. Oh well, he's not perfect and not the messaih, but we love him anyway. Almost as much as the Bonitão.

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