"After nearly three decades of work, Brazil has succeeded where much of the industrialized world has failed: It has developed a cost-effective alternative to gasoline. Along with new offshore oil discoveries, that's a big reason Brazil expects to become energy independent this year."
The alternative? "...ethanol made from sugar cane, an option that's available at 29,000 gas stations from Rio to the Amazonâ€¦Even though ethanol gets less mileage than gasoline, in Brazil it's still cheaper per mile driven. As a result, ethanol now accounts for as much as 20% of Brazil's transport fuel market."
"Yet countries wanting to follow Brazil's example may be leery about following its methods. Military and civilian leaders laid the groundwork by mandating ethanol use and dictating production levels. They bankrolled technology projects costing billions of dollars, despite criticism they were wasting money. Brazil ended most government support for its sugar industry in the late 1990s, forcing sugar producers to become more efficient and helping lower the cost of ethanol's raw material. That's something Western countries are loath to do, preferring to support domestic farmers."
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