Because they make it from sugar cane, probably the most efficient crop to use and which they have in abundance, and because it reduces their need to import oil.
Brazil recognized its dependence on fossil fuels – they imported 80 percent of their oil and predictably, this wasn’t helpful to their economy – and sought to change that. Not only does the country have access to the necessary crops, but they actively pursued pro-ethanol policies in the late 1970s and early 1980s. “Depending on market conditions, all fuels were required to be blended with 20 to 25 percent ethanol.” The Brazilian government continually supported the ethanol industry even when oil prices were relatively low and stable and it’s paid dividends.
To elaborate on rigibson’s response, Brazil produces 30% of the world’s fuel-grade ethanol, or approximately 6,921.54 million gallons worth. As their agro-industrial processes improve, their large sugarcane plantations are expected to produce 9,000 liters per hectare. Half of Brazil’s 425 million tons of annual sugarcane production goes into making sugar, while the other half is used for ethanol production.
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