Monday, March 10, 2008

Energy Independence: Brazil’s Best Kept Secret

Herman Cain has a commentary on his recent visit to Brazil and the celebration of their energy independence (They officially import zero foreign oil as of late last year). In the piece, he gives a nod to Robert Zubrin's excellent book, Energy Victory as a model for our US policy to reverse our current trend of energy dependence on foreign oil.

In essence, Brazil developed a competent energy policy in the 1970s while we as a nation were ringing our hands over the Arab oil embargo. Since that time, Brazil has gradually adapted the use of flex-fuel technology to all cars in Brazil. This means that all cars in Brazil can use either gasoline (which is 25 percent ethanol from sugar cane) or 100 percent ethanol.

When a Brazilian stops to fill up at a local station, the car does not care what is put in the tank. The engine determines what it is burning and burns it accordingly. This technology is not foreign to U.S. automakers, since they produce a large portion of the Brazilian car market.

While Brazil was achieving energy independence from 1972 to 2006, the United States’ dependency on foreign oil went from 30 percent to 60 percent. Brazil’s use of foreign oil went down to zero.

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