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Page added on October 29, 2008

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In Brazil, Biofuels Dream Is Already Reality

… Grassley realizes there is one big obstacle to reaching that goal on the back of ethanol: American public opinion. Blamed for higher food prices and criticized for overstating ethanol’s environmental benefits, the U.S. biofuel industry faces a serious image problem.

“Three decades ago people asked for a renewable fuel,” said Grassley, a Republican. “Today there is such an industry, responsible for about 5 percent of America’s fuel consumption, and now we are considered villains.”

The problems confronting the U.S. industry stand in sharp contrast to the experience of the world’s other major ethanol producer — Brazil. Together, Brazil and the United States lead a rising market, poised to produce a record 16 billion gallons this year. Yet biofuels have gained the kind of mainstream acceptance in Brazil that Grassley can still only hope for in the United States.

That is partly because the Brazilians have come far closer to achieving the ultimate promise of biofuels — the generation of a greener, cheaper alternative to gasoline. Production methods in Brazil are considered the world’s most efficient, helping make ethanol commercially viable for the masses. From the Amazon region to their country’s deep south, Brazilians now consume more ethanol than gas at the pumps.

Washington Post

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