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The Country That Has Relied On Biofuel For Four Decades

The next ten years will see one of the biggest transitions in automotive history, as systemic bans on petrol and diesel cars will lead to customers seeking alternative vehicles, typically taking the form of either an all-electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid car that supplements itself with a form of biofuel.

Biofuels have evolved significantly, which has meant that storage tanks and the pressure relief valve systems they use have had will need to change too. Whilst initially reliant on food crops to produce fuel, later-generation systems that use microbes and algae have increased potential fuel yields.

However, whilst most of the automotive world is catching up, one country has been so reliant on biofuel for nearly five decades that specially modified cars need to be sold in that country.

In 1973 an oil embargo led to a shock in the oil market, with prices tripling and shortages becoming a regular occurrence. The first oil crisis led to changes throughout the motoring industry, with European nations switching to smaller cars and the United States producing cars designed to be more economical and safe, a period later known as the Malaise era.

Brazil took a more radical approach to the issue. Bioethanol derived from sugarcane had been used since the 1930s when the first cars were used in the country, with mandatory blends enacted by the Brazilian government during times when oil supplies were affected, such as during the Second World War.

In 1975, the National Alcohol Programme was launched, which was designed to phase out fossil fuels and eliminate E0 fuel from being sold in the country.

As a result, the first modern ethanol car, a Fiat 147, was sold in 1979, and in 2003 flexible-fuel cars that could run on any blend of ethanol were launched in the country to major success given the fluctuations in the mandatory blend of petrol in the country.