84% of Cars Sold in Brazil Run on Ethanol, Gasoline, or Both

Ethanol pump in Brazil Flex-fuel vehicles, with technology that enables them to be fueled with alcohol, gasoline, or any combination of the two fuels, have really suited the tastes of Brazilians. Of the total amount of vehicles sold in Brazil last month (February), 84% were flex-fuel.

The trend, announced yesterday, March 6, by the National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea), shows that not only does Brazil have the technology required to produce ethanol, it also has demand for the fuel.

The information could not have come at a better time, the week in which the president of the United States, George W. Bush, is coming to Brazil. One of the main topics that Bush should discuss with the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is precisely the production of biofuels, ethanol being the main one.

To the president of Anfavea, Rogélio Golfarb, Brazil has a great opportunity that should not be wasted. "Just as the automobile and the Internet have changed the world and social behavior forever, agro-energy will also lead to radical change," he said.

"Now it is time to invest in research and production, because large investors and large economies are already doing it. Should Brazil manage to be competitive in this field, then it will benefit the economy as a whole, and also, of course, our sector."

Currently, according to Golfarb, 12% of the entire national fleet is already flex-fuel, and the figure tends to reach 52% by 2013. In 2003, when vehicles allowing for the use of both fuels were launched, they did not even amount to 3% of total sales.

To the president of Anfavea, the trend is for ethanol to be used in the future in other types of vehicles as well, such as hybrid vehicles – that work both with combustion and electric energy -, which already exist in the United States.

Two-month Balance

Anfavea has reasons to celebrate the month of February. In total, 134,000 new national vehicles were licensed – a 7.1% increase over the same month in 2006. Furthermore, 201,000 units were produced, and exports yielded US$ 942 million (including agricultural machinery).

In January and February, 404,000 units were produced – a 1% increase compared with the same two-month period in 2005. Exports for the two-month period amounted to US$ 1.739 billion, a 0.7% increase compared with the first two months of 2006.

"February was a good month for exports, and a positive month in general, one of clear recovery, considering that we are coming up from a very low base," said the president of Anfavea.

For 2007, Golfarb expects a 7.7% growth compared with 2006. As for agricultural machinery, which performed poorly in recent years, projections forecast a 13.7% growth.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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