Bioethanol Fuel|Nami Minaki Sandra|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2021.06.16
  • Bioethanol Fuel
I remember how excited I was about turning 18 because in Brazil you can get a driver's license when you turn 18. My father bought me a car after I got my license, although it was a 10-year-old used car and was a little beat up in the back. My father said to me at the time, "You're probably going to bump into a few things," and I convinced myself that he was probably right. It would be dangerous driving in a big city like São Paulo just after getting your license. I thought for a moment that cars wouldn’t be suitable for an 18-year-old girl, but then I was so happy to be able to drive. Sometime after I started college, he bought me another car, this time a used car that was one-year old. It was a car that runs on bioethanol. This was in the mid 80's, so it had an auxiliary tank, which I always made sure had a liter or so of gasoline, and in cold winters, the engine needed some gasoline first before starting, otherwise it wouldn’t run on ethanol only. I was on edge if I stopped the car in an unsafe area because sometimes, I wanted to leave in a hurry, but the engine wouldn't start.


Brazil has been expanding bioethanol production from sugarcane fermentation as an alternative to gasoline since the late 1970s.
The first bioethanol vehicles were produced in Brazil in 1978. I understand they were made by Ford. Bioethanol fuel has been hailed as a countermeasure against global warming because it has zero CO2 emissions. But the number of bioethanol vehicles temporarily decreased in the latter half of the 1980s because of shortages in fuel alcohol supplies caused by falling oil prices and rising sugar prices. Since 2003 they have been making cars that run on gasoline or ethanol, called Flex cars, to try to solve the problem of fluctuating gasoline prices and falling ethanol supplies. It’s OK to put either fuel in the same tank. The first car like this was the Volkswagen Gol. In 2018, 67.1% of all cars running in Brazil were Flex cars, 22.2% were gasoline, and 10% were diesel. The benefit of Flex cars is that consumers can compare gasoline and ethanol prices and choose between the two when filling up. There is a simple calculation to use when comparing prices. They say you should choose ethanol if it is less than 70% of the gasoline price.


(June 1: US$1 = R$5.15)

But you actually can’t get 100% gasoline because under government regulations, the gasoline sold at gas stations in Brazil contains 20 to 24% anhydrous ethanol. There are three types of gasoline: regular (octane ratings of 87), gasoline with additives, and Podium (octane ratings of 97).


The other day when I was walking past a gas station, I saw an ad saying, "10% discount on fuel for medical professionals, except ethanol. We are grateful to you all.” It's a thank you to the medical professionals on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. I think this is a very Brazilian thing to do, but I'm sure other countries are showing their gratitude in different ways.

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  • Nami Minaki Sandra
  • AgeDragon( TATU )
  • GenderFemale
  • JobLanguage teacher,shadow box crafter

Born and raised in Brazil. After graduating from university, She has been teaching shadow box crafts that she learned while in Singapore where she resided for three years due to her husband’s work and she is also a language teacher. She is in love with the life here in São Paulo where cultures and traditions of various countries melt together.

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