SAO PAULO – Flex-fuel technology incorporated six years ago into the Brazilian automobile fleet to allow them to run on gasoline, sugar-based ethanol or a combination of the two has prevented the emission of more than 75 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a business group said on Monday.
The Sugar Cane Industry Union, or Unica, said that figure also takes into account the effect of the regulation requiring conventional gasoline to include 25 percent ethanol.
Emissions of CO2 are seen as the leading factor in global warming.
The analysis, which covers the period from April 2003 through last month, said that to reach a similar reduction in CO2 emissions, Brazil would have had to plant at least 200 million trees.
Between January and September, almost 2 million flex-fuel automobiles were registered in Brazil, 7 percent more than during the same period in 2008.
Brazil’s flex-fuel fleet exceeds 7 million vehicles, or 94 percent of the automobiles in the country.
During the 2008-2009 harvest, Brazil produced 565 million tons of sugar cane, the raw material for the production of 25.7 billion liters (6.8 billion gallons) of ethanol.
The South American nation has pioneered the production of sugar-based ethanol, which is more energy efficient than the corn-based variety produced in the United States. EFE