Brazil is currently the world’s largest producer and exporter of biofuels worldwide. It has a long history of biofuel production and a well-established national ethanol programme.

Over the last 30 years, Brazil has implemented a very successful renewable energy programme called Proálcool, which was also the world’s first large-scale biofuel programme. As a response to the international oil crisis, the programme was launched in 1975 to reduce the country’s imports of oil and to promote the production of ethanol using sugar cane as the feedstock. In a transition period from the mid 1990s to 2002, government price controls and subsidies for production and logistics were eliminated for sugar and ethanol. In 2003, the first flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) (able to run on any blend of ethanol and gasoline) were introduced to the Brazilian market. Their numbers have increased rapidly: in 2005, sales of flex-fuel cars totalled 855,000.