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Brazil's ethanol prices have soared to levels rarely seen, rising 65 percent over last month's prices and hitting $6.31 a gallon, more than double the amount the biofuel was selling for during this same time last year. Since Brazil blends its gasoline with a mandated 25 percent ethanol, the rising cost of the biofuel can significantly affect pump prices.

Brazil's ethanol supply tightened significantly in the first quarter of 2011, following the end of the sugarcane harvest last December. Ethanol prices are not expected to drop until mid-May, when supply from Brazil's current sugarcane harvest begins to enter the market.

So, in stepped the U.S. Sources say that some 200 million liters (52.8 million gallons) of ethanol exported from the U.S. arrived in Brazil recently. U.S. shipments of the biofuel could put a cap on the upward price trend of ethanol in Brazil, but the South American nation does not expect that imports will drive down prices.

[Source: ICIS | Image: cliff1006 – C.C. License 2.0]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yet another example of the inherent flaw in bio-fuels. With the exception of waste-based biofuels, the inputs are simply too great. Land, labor, fertilizer, etc. carry both economic and environmental prices. Has anyone calculated the topsoil erosion caused to produce ethanol, for example? We are putting food in gas tanks. The only long term sustainable source of energy is the sun, wind, waves and heat of our planet.
        dellrio
        • 4 Years Ago
        We are not putting food into the Gastank... Starch is removed from the corn and turned into alcohol (ethanol). Then the left over fibers and proteins (distillers grains) are fed to cattle, pigs, chickens, and even farm fish. These are then eaten. The corn would have originally been fed to the animals directly and their bodies would not have benefited from the starch. We produce signifigantly more corn than could be consumed by humans alone - this is why industry round a use for the corn, HighFructoseCornSyrup in place of sugar, ethanol removed from animal feed, leving feed for animals, etc...
          dellrio
          • 4 Years Ago
          @dellrio
          The problem is this counrty is glutten for Meat. Unfortunately you can not grow meat in a field and the Meat needs to be fed. I agree that the lang could be put to much better use, but until most of the country gives up eating meat (as I did 4 years ago) we are stuck needing food to feed the meat. I also agreee that the meat should not be eating corn+antibiotics, but we can not produce enough for demand otherwise. We need to lower demand for animal products to solve this issue - I just dont see most americans doing that. "The corn belt is ruining itself through top soil erosion " And you know this becasue you live on / work on a farm? Farmers in the midwest are well educated on this topic and are good stewards of the land they farm. If they did not care for the land they would be farming themselves right out of business. Although I do agree with your point about fertilizers/herbicides/pesticiedes etc. So I guess in retort to your comment my point is until people begin to consume a diet with less meat products the system is not going to change. There is no shortage of cabbage becasue people are too busy eating meat, if meat consumption declined and there was less demand for corn - Farmers would plant a crop that was in higher demand, which would make them a higher return on their investment. Personally - I think we need to be using Hemp for ethanol, but you know it is illegal to grow becasue of the big pharmacutical companies and ancient industrial lobbying success. Corn may not be the full answer but making ethanol out of a product that would be used elsewhere, while still using the product where it was intended seems smart to me. Two uses from one source product.
          • 4 Years Ago
          @dellrio
          Your point? We produce significantly more corn then we need because of our broken CAFO meat system, upon which ethanol rides like a virus. How about this: instead of producing too much corn, lets use that good farmland to produce actual, you know, food. Not inappropriate feed for cattle who need to be dosed up with antibiotics because they should be eating grass not grain. Not fuel for our SUVs. Actual, real food. There is not "too much food" on the planet. The corn belt is ruining itself through top soil erosion and poisoning the land and water with overuse of nitrogen fixers. We are squandering some of the best farm land in the world to produce government funded kickbacks for big ag, all in the name of being "green". It's a sick, broken system. Too much corn? Don't burn it, grow a ******* cabbage for god's sake. All you have proven through your comment is that industrial ag sucks. I won't get into the idiocy of the "too much corn" claim in light of the one billion underfed people on the planet. Or what ethanol production in Brazil has done to drive rainforest destruction to produce farmland to grow fuel for cars. Or any of the other myriad overuses of the land caused by the foolishness of using plants to run cars.
          • 4 Years Ago
          @dellrio
          The comments section doesn't seem to be properly nesting, so I'll reply to your last comment and hope it finds the right place. Yes we eat too much meat. Yes, there should be a campaign to raise awareness about it. But right now, government policy is driving the consumption of meat both directly through tax breaks, etc, but also, and this is the important point, though propping up ethanol. Meat is too cheap, and it's too cheap because corn feed is subsidized by all the checks big ag gets for using the waste of the process for ethanol. If we did away with that subsidy, the price of feed would rise because the producers wouldn't be passing their costs onto the taxpayer. The rise in feed price would be passed directly by the meat producers onto the public, meat would get more expensive (like it was a generation or two ago) and we would eat less of it. In other words, want to lower the consumption of meat? Kill the ethanol racket that allows corn producers to outsource their costs onto the federal budget! The system was built by ag lobbyists, and those are the only ones who really benefit. They take American's natural respect for the work done by real farmers and use it as cover to pass pocket-lining boondoggles that destroy the environment. Repeat, they destroy the environment! Want to change people's behavior? Let the GD marketplace decide the cost of meat, and ethanol, and feed. You want to give someone a tax break? Give real farmers who actually grow real food (including meat) that break. Ethanol is the text book example of the law of unintended consequences. One other point Delrio. You made a ridiculous "argument to authority" ( a basic logical fallacy) while trying to rebut my point about the loss of topsoil. Saying that only farmers can speak about farming is like saying that only soldiers can decide which wars we fight, or only police can decide which civil liberties to grant, etc. I did grow up on a farm. I'll probably die of cancer because of all the Round Up I inhaled as a kid. Many of the farmers I knew were far, far more concerned about meeting their yearly yield projections then the long term consequences of their practices. A few of them got it, but a hell of a lot didn't, and big ag cares more about Wall Street then sustainable farming. No Till, the most popular method of preserving soil, is hardly a complete solution, and top soil, which takes about a thousand years to accumulate an inch on average, is in crisis. That's true whether I'm sitting in a combine mowing down corn for ethanol production and then tilling my soil, causing massive run-off loss into the Mississippi, or if I'm sitting in the office of an environmental org that works on food and farming issues reading a report on the draining of the Ogallala Aquifer, or the fertilizer-driven algae blooms in the Gulf, or, yes, top soil loss. Rebut me on the facts, not on how I earn a living. Anything else is just an appeal to a siege mentality that benefits no one.
      lne937s
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm not sure how the idea came about that cattle do not digest starch, but it is absolutely false (I may live in NYC now, but I grew up in the Midwest). In fact, Carbohydrates (starch) are the primary value of corn in cattle feed. Dairy cows especially need carbohydrates to make milk (convert to lactose). It makes cattle in feedlots grow fatter with white fat. Removing them does still provide some fiber, protien and fat, but you are removing the primary nutrutional value to cows. More of the feed is not digestible, requiring more feed, slower growth and lower production. Soy is far better for fat an protien in feed. http://www.eco-vie.com/t_cattlenutrition.html Yes, the leftovers from ethanol production still have some feed value, but you are removing the majority of the feed value of corn.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We would never like to chose whether to drive or to eat! Ethanol is the political bribe for primaries in US, not a strategic plan for post carbon society like China has now: http://sufiy.blogspot.com/2011/04/powered-by-lithium-china-plans-220000.html
        EJ
        • 4 Years Ago
        'We would never like to chose whether to drive or to eat!' Good thing we'll never have to. Once Ethanol is an established market, farmers will quickly switch to growing camelina and switchgrass on land useless for corn, all while outproducing corn 3:1 and not needing petro based fertilizers and pesticides, irrigation, or premium priced terminator gened seeds. We'll continue to produce far more corn than we can consume, and food prices wil still go up since production and distribution are 100% reliant on petroleum.
      seni0rl0c0
      • 4 Years Ago
      Awesome, American taxpayers subsidize the corn production, subsidize the ethanol production and then the producers sell it off to foreigners!
        EJ
        • 4 Years Ago
        @seni0rl0c0
        Still way better than the 12 billion a year subsidy to oil companies whose base material shifts wealth to foreign oil producers. At least the corn was grown domestically.