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Automakers in Brazil Hit 10M Flex-Fuel Vehicle Mark; Brazilian Sugarcane Association Urges Global Dissemination

Brazil’s 10-millionth flex-fuel vehicle was built on 4 March, according to the country’s National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea). The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) commented that this milestone should encourage automakers to invest more in the global dissemination of what has been accomplished in Brazil, as well as in their countries of origin.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) represents the top producers of sugar and ethanol in the country’s South-Central region, especially the state of Sao Paulo, which accounts for about 50% of the country’s sugarcane harvest and 60% of total ethanol production.

We congratulate the auto industry in Brazil for its vision and the boldness shown when it chose to invest heavily in Flex technology, to the point that many of these industries do not even produce vehicles powered exclusively by gasoline any more. The next step is to take this technically proven and highly successful project to the rest of the world, since all major automakers in Brazil have a global presence.

—Marcos Jank, president of UNICA

Brazil Flex-Fuel January 2010 Quick Stats
  • 178,693 total Flex-Fuel units (62% of total vehicle production)
  • 152,945 autos, 25,748 light commercial
  • Anfaveajan10
    Flex-fuel production by automaker, January 2010. Data: ANFAVEA. Click to enlarge.

    UNICA used the production news to argue that Flex-Fuel technology is not widely offered in other parts of the world largely because of the lack of commitment to produce, use and distribute ethanol. Where there is in fact interest and ethanol production and use, there are barriers, especially tariffs, preventing the entry of the imported product, the association said. The US has a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on most imported ethanol.

    Because of these protectionist barriers, UNICA says, Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, a more effective, less costly biofuel that’s recognized for its ability to reduce emissions that cause global warming, has struggled to enter global markets competitively. UNICA sees that situation as ironic: while fossil fuels move freely around the world, renewables, capable of positively impacting climate change, are blocked, at a time when the world repeatedly declares it is concerned about climate change.

    We know this is not a simple or quick process, but the introduction of Flex-Fuel vehicles around the world is something that has to be considered, and it can only happen with decisive support from automakers. Without it, Brazil would not have accomplished such positive results and it will not be different in other countries. The role of the auto industry is crucial

    —Marcos Jank

    The president of UNICA noted that the organization, which follows and directly participates in discussions and initiatives involving the production and use of ethanol in various parts of the world, finds it surprising to note the lack of information about the existence, success and importance of Flex-Fuel cars in Brazil.

    Automakers should present their incredible Brazilian success story to the world as a perfectly viable example for others to adopt. The cost of presenting this option to consumers is not high, and consumers will then be able to choose, where available, a renewable fuel of much lower environmental impact compared to any fossil fuel.

    —Marcos Jank

    He added that more Flex-Fuel vehicles introduced in more markets would help to encourage more production and availability of ethanol, as results in Brazil have shown for decades.

    In 2008, Brazil produced an estimated 565 million metric tons of sugarcane, which yielded 31.3 million tons of sugar and 25.7 billion liters (6.8 billion gallons) of ethanol, making it the number-one sugarcane grower and sugar producer in the world, and the second-largest ethanol producer on the planet, behind the United States.



    All new car FFVs that run E85/M85 are a good way to go. It costs so little and helps so much that the last barrier will be the fueling stations and oil company franchise terms.


    Few people realize the stunning accomplishment in Brazil. All non-diesel autos sold there can be fueled either with 100% alcohol or 100% gasoline, or any mix therof. Its your choice and the vehicle automatically adjusts fueling. This is a fully mapped modern fuel injection. The vehicles are produced in Brazil by all the top manufacturers such as GM, Ford and VW. So should ethanol production become economic with waste feedstocks like corn cobs, there will be no need to re-invent the vehicle, its already done and available.


    They sell both methanol and ethanol. With the Barrnet shale gas find in northwest Louisiana, there will be plenty of natural gas to make methanol. Combine that with biomass from farms to methane, we should have plenty for years to come. Methane is delivered by pipelines and not rail or truck, making it even more convenient.

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