Ethanol: Where do you stand?

I love Brazil. I hate tree huggers . But being that it is the season of caring and sharing, I am willing to make an exception if for one day, only.

In light of today's news that U.S. car makers and engine manufacturers are challenging the E.P.A's recent decision to increase ethanol content of gasoline sold in the U.S. to 15%, I am feeling a bit nostalgic.

Here Comes Another Flashback...

When the grass turns white from snow and Christmas lights set the night aglow I reminisce and do remember where I was just last September...

There won't be rhymes, but there is reason and to my oil traders...perhaps treason.

There I am in Sao Paulo gridlock, chatting away with my cabbie. Well...perhaps chatting is an overstatement. My Spanish is broken and hobbled beyond repair and he sticks to the script of only knowing Portuguese.

Naturally, the minute I call his (then) President, Luiz Inacio (a.k.a. Lula ) da SIlva a damn commie , he readjust his rear view mirror to stare me dead in the eyes.

The conversation then suddenly blooms...it seems his English was far less broken then my Spanish.

Though we spent most of the time talking about women and food...mostly how Brazilian women consumed more, yet looked.... Well, you can figure the rest...let me not digress further than I already have.

The point of the story is that this guy was very grateful to both the Brazilian politicians and industry for their use of Ethanol as a gasoline alternative. He was the first to admit that it made his daily drives feel like he was stuck in a magic farting phone booth, but also explained that he would need to seek another career if his country was as dependent on the light and the sweet as the U.S. is.

Our conversation didn't reach the depth I would have liked by the time we reached the airport. But one thing is certain regardless of whether we touched on it or not...

Gasoline prices are predicted to rise again in 2011 and have recently done so in small increments at your local pump. Are the effects on the macro economy, markets and the individual consumer worth the headache?

With Brazil demonstrating how excess commodities such as sugar can be put to good use is it time we made a stronger push for ethanol use?

Why or why not?

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