Friday, 9 January 2009

Ending Britain's dependency on OPEC

I find it rather absurd that we humans have allowed ourselves to become dependent upon a resource which will inevitably one day end. Britain's own oil reserves are all but finished and we, like many other modern nations, have effectively become a hostage of the oil-producing countries and specifically the OPEC cartel. Investigating and investing in alternative sources of fuel should now become a priority for us all.

Brazil has led the way in this area. In fact that South Amerian giant is way ahead of the rest of us in demonstrating that moving to an ethanol-powered transport system is not only possible, but desireable. It makes sense to me that if we can we ought to produce our own fuel using a renewable and sustainable agricultural source. This would not only end our dependency on the OPEC cartel but would also increase employment in our domestic agricultural and plant-processing sectors and provide better value and stability for consumers and the wider economy.

In Brazil a large proportion of vehicles are hybrids that can take either petrol or ethanol (or "alcool" as the Brazilians call it) or any combination of the two. Personal experience has demonstrated to me that there is no difference between the two in terms of performance, but there is a significant economic difference: alcool is about half the price and provides better mileage. In Brazil alcool production has bolstered employment and car sales (as more people can afford to run vehicles) and fostered a feeling of nation pride and patriotism, neither of which are bad things in my estimation. Most importantly, Brazil's fuel is renewable and sustainable. It will effectively never be depleted, unlike oil. The Brazilians are even beginning to fuel airplanes with alcool. The environmental advantages are palpable.

Brazil has demonstarted the benefits of ethanol production and use and has freed itself from the woes of uncertainly that dependence upon OPEC creates. Brazil has freed itself from oil dependency while helping its own eceonomy and people. Isn't it time that we in Britain at least investigated how we might benefit from such a programme?

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