Ethanol is the hot new fuel. It is a grain alcohol that can be blended with gasoline or even replace it completely. All vehicles can use a mixture of up to 10% ethanol and so-called flexible fuel vehicles can run on either E-85 with 85% ethanol or regular gasoline. Ethanol is a clean, renewable fuel that produces no net CO2 emissions. Paradoxically, Spain is home to Europe’s biggest ethanol producer, but none of it fuels the nation’s vehicles. That is because oil companies in Spain own the lion’s share of filling stations, hate competition, and are keen to offload their gasoline surpluses. Instead, Spain’s ethanol is shipped at great expense to more environmentally-conscious countries like Sweden.
In March 2007, President Bush made a tour of Latin America. His aim was to make alliances with Latin American countries to produce ethanol. His strategy to boost the use of renewable fuels to mitigate global warming, and to reduce US oil dependence on the Middle East and Venezuela.