Brazil Alcohol Fuel Tour

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Much of Rio's social life take place on the beach.
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LEFT: This Brazil phone company vehicle, like many of the country's fleet vehicles, runs on alcohol fuel. RIGHT: View of the ocean from the Paqueta Cafe.
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LEFT: An ethanol fuel pump. CENTER: A fuel distilling tower. RIGHT: Brazilian parrot, a symbol of the tropics. 
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Only carriages and bikes are permitted on Paqueta island in Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara bay
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LEFT: Sugar cane, the feed stock for Brazil's alcohol fuel. RIGHT: A weekly craft's fair in Sau Paulo Park.
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The Corcovado, as seen from Rio's botanical gardens.
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The famous Copacabana crescent.

Since one picture is worth a good ten thousand words (more
or less) we thought you might like to take a look at some
of the sights in store for everyone who participates in
MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ Brazil Alcohol Fuel Tour, which will take place
from January 17 to 31, 1981. (The trip was originally
planned to last ten days, but the vast number of things to
see and do in that South American land–combined with
the Cariocan “let’s do it tomorrow” attitude–convinced us
that it would be best to stretch out the trip to a full two

The photos accompanying this article were all taken during
a “shakedown trip” made by MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ tour director, Sara
Pacher, and this publication’s research coordinator,
Richard Freudenberger.

The pair’s intent was to investigate the Brazilian program
that aims to switch that country’s vehicles to “liquid
sunshine” by 1985 … and MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ staffers came away
impressed with the remarkable progress that has been made
thus far.

All Brazilian gasoline, as an example, now contains 20%
alcohol … thousands of cars (including government and
utility fleets) have been converted to run on pure ethanol
… especially designed alcohol-fueled cars are presently
pouring off the assembly lines at Brazil’s Ford, General
Motors, Fiat, and Volkswagen plants … and Mercedes-Benz
(which dominates the country’s truck and bus market) has
even converted some Sao Paulo diesel commuter buses to run
on the renewable fuel.

What It Will Include

In the course of our Brazilian tour, we’ll see all those
innovations and take a look at sugar cane
plantations where the crops are distilled on a mass basis … visit the Aerospace Technical Center, where the alcohol
fuel program was largely developed and scientists are now
hard at work researching the best renewable source of
diesel fuel … and talk to engineers and
environmentalists–plus one of Brazil’s most prominent and
popular physicists–about the nation’s brave new experiment
in energy self-sufficiency. Of course, we’ll also take some
time to see the sights, shop, and soak up the tropical sun
on Rio’s wide, world-renowned beaches … which are as
white as Brazilian sugar!

A few of the coming trip’s fine points have yet to be
worked out, so we can’t–just yet–give you a
firm price on this tour … however, we estimate the
entire package will run about $2,000, including airfare. If
you think you’d like to leave next winter’s ice and cold
for an informative (and fun) excursion into the South
American summer, let us know … and we’ll get all the
pertinent details to you as soon as possible.

Other Offerings

While you’re at it, you might want to find out whether
there have been any last-minute cancellations that would
allow you to join our unique Food Production Tour of the
People’s Republic of China (September 8–29,1980).

Or possibly you’d like to take part in our second,
expanded, Solar Tour of Israel (from February 19
to March 3, 1981), which will cost $1,545–including
airfare–and offers an optional week’s visit to Egypt.

On the other hand, you might choose to participate in a
new solar tour (between August 23 and September 6,
1981) that will combine a trip to the International Solar
Energy Society (ISES) conference in Brighton, England with
a look at some of the sophisticated ways that France (long
a leader in sun technology) utilizes solar energy. This
tour (including airfare) is tentatively priced at
a scant $1,100 … and if air costs allow us to hold it
at that, it will be the travel bargain of the decade!