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Latin America and the Caribbean

14. Alcohol transport fleet and global climate benefits in Brazil

The energy matrix of Brazilian transport is unique in terms of fuel types, since a considerable proportion come from renewable energy sources like ethanol. The alcohol is produced from sugar cane and is a bio energy source with, seen in the life line perspective, zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The share of avoided CO2 emissions through ethanol constitutes approximately 85% of the total emissions resulting from the combustion of all light vehicles in the Brazilian transport sector for the last decade. This substitution is equivalent to the withdrawal of an average of 20,360 10(3) t CO2/ year from the atmosphere.

Currently the production of gasoline powered vehicles is steadily increasing, while the number of alcohol powered vehicles rapidly diminishing.  This is due to the high costs of alcohol production compared to gasoline costs. If no incentives are made to make it more lucrative to produce vehicles using alcohol, the emissions of greenhouse gases from the transport sector will increase drastically. (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro: Global warming and transport in Brazil – Ethanol alternative)