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Articles by Gordon Feller

Gordon Feller is chief executive of the Urban Age Institute and editor of Urban Age magazine.

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In 2006, Brazil officially achieved “energy independence” — that is, its oil exports came into line with imports and cancelled them out. No longer beholden to foreign suppliers for its energy needs, the nation theoretically has no stake in costly Middle East military adventures to secure access to oil reserves.

Grain alcohol? Haven’t touched the stuff since college.


Sounds like a certain colossus to the north has a lot to learn from Brazil’s recent energy strategy, huh? Indeed, much of Brazil’s energy independence stems from a successful ethanol program, which has replaced about 40 percent of gasoline use in the country. Might the United States, with its own aggressive ethanol push, attain similar success?

Apples and Oranges, Corn and Sugarcane

Not so fast. The lessons of Brazil are not as clear-cut as they seem at first glance.

Montana chemical engineer Robert Rapier, who runs the widely read “R-Squared Energy Blog,” has succinctly laid out the fundamental differences in the U.S. and Brazilian energy landscapes — differences th... Read more