Brazil tops five million hybrid cars, makes 22bn litres of ethanol in 2007

SAO PAULO, March 10, 2008 (AFP) – More than five million vehicles and almost nine in ten new vehicles in Brazil now run on both gasoline and ethanol derived from sugar cane, the car manufacturing association Anfavea said Monday.

Anfavea president Jackson Schneider told reporters in Sao Paulo that Brazil — a pioneer in biofuels — has made more than five million so-called “flexi-fuel” vehicles since the first came off the production line in 2003.

Some 4.97 million vehicles were sold nationally by the end of February and “the five million vehicle mark has already been passed”, he said.

Last month, 168,744 new hybrid vehicles were registered — 88.3 percent of the total — compared to a total of 2,003,090 last year.

Schneider predicted that such vehicles would make up 52 percent of the market by 2013, up from 12 percent in 2007. The biofuel industry is rapidly expanding as governments and companies try to wean themselves off oil, and Brazil is a world leader, last year producing 22 billion liters of ethanol biofuel derived from sugar cane.