Friday, March 31, 2006

One of these countries is The Greatest Country In The World. Guess which one:

Country A:

Gasoline prices will be unusually high and shortages might occur this summer, because the U.S. ethanol industry can't keep up with the demand for fuel-grade alcohol to mix with gasoline, the head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration told a Senate committee Wednesday.

... EIA, in a report last month warning of shortages, said that "new (ethanol) facilities will not start soon enough to meet 2006 demand." That, EIA head Guy Caruso told the committee, "could cause temporary supply dislocations and may cause price volatility." ...

Country B:

 ... in Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world, there's a plan to become free from imported oil, not in the next 30 years, not in the next 10, but by the end of this year....

That's primarily because while the rest of the world was mapping the human genome, scientists in Brazil were mapping the DNA of sugar in an effort to create a cleaner, cheaper alternative to gasoline: sugarcane ethanol.

They succeeded. Brazil's ethanol is about 30 percent less expensive than gasoline; according to the World Bank, it's about 50 cents cheaper per gallon to produce sugarcane ethanol. And although ethanol gets slightly less mileage, it's still cheaper on a per-mile-driven basis....

As chief economic advisor to Brazil's finance minister in the 1970s, Eduardo Carvalho pushed for government subsidies to help the fledgling sugarcane industry take shape....

Beginning in the 1970s, every gas station in the country was required to have at least one ethanol pump and the government mandated that all gasoline be mixed with ethanol.

... as the ethanol began to replace gasoline, that led to another development: a brand new kind of car called a "flex vehicle." The car gives you the option of using a gasoline ethanol blend or 100 percent ethanol depending on whatever is cheaper. In San Paolo, Brazil, ethanol is the cheaper fuel to use.

Today, 70 percent of new cars sold in Brazil are flex vehicles, which cost no more than a regular car.

...The U.S. has made inroads on ethanol, but the focus here has been on corn-based ethanol, which is more expensive to process. By any measure, the U.S. is still probably decades behind Brazil on this alternative energy front.

Ahhh, who cares? Encouraging innovation and energy independence through government subsidies is for wussies. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

No comments: