Ethanol Use in US and Brazil Rises Sharply

Ethanol powered car

In Europe, not so much…

Brazil, which has to a large degree lead the ethanol charge because of its ability to use sugar cane for ethanol production rather than corn, now relies on the biofuel for 16% of its energy needs. This puts ethanol at #2 in Brazil for largest energy sources, right ahead of hydroelectric, which accounts for 14.7% of electricity production. Both of these sources, however, are behind petroleum, which is the largest energy producer in Brazil.

In the US, on the other hand, ethanol still does not play such a prominent role, even though 23.7% of the annual corn crop is going to create biofuels. The market share that ethanol commands in the US will likely only increase, especially as new technologies allow for the production of cellulosic ethanol and sources other than corn come into vogue.

Even though ethanol seems to be one of the waves of the future, this year production was actually down in Europe, even though that loss in production was made up for by imports from ethanol-rich Brazil. Globally, ethanol only contributed 1.3% to oil consumption in 2007, but that share does appear to be rising rapidly, especially as US politicians push ethanol subsidies and Brazil continues to ramp up production in order to satisfy world demand.

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Source: agra

Image credit: Jeffrey Beall under Creative Commons


Benjamin Jones

Benjamin Jones is a student of Dartmouth College and co-founder of and writer at He is double majoring in Japanese and Linguistics, and is most interested in Sociolinguistics and Anthropology in Japan.