Ethanol is good business for Brazil: in the last 6 years, the export sales of the biofuel have risen 176 percent, according to the CEPEA - Centro de Estudos Avançados em Economia Aplicada (Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics) in São Paulo.
The growth was especially important in 2006, when it reached 46 percent, with a total export of 2,800 million liters of sugarcane ethanol. Petrobras, Brazil's national oil company has just been in the business for a few years, but plans to sell 850 million liters in the USA, Venezuela and Nigeria and up to 3.5 billion liters in 2011 through an agreement with Japanese company Mitsui to provide the Japanese market.
According to CEPEA, the total output of this fuel in 2005 was around 9.6 billion liters. Brazil produced 45.2 percent of this amount (made from sugarcane) and the USA 44.5 percent (made from corn).
Ethanol was a solution for the severe crisis that affected Brazil during the '80s. The country did not have enough resources to import oil and ethanol became both a solution for motoring and for unemployment. The key of its success there has always been the much lower tax that consumers pay at the gas pump.