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Drink drivers

The Brazilian government would like its people to put alcohol in their fuel tanks instead of petrol or diesel.

Back in the 1980s three-quarters of all cars in Brazil could run on alcohol, but now almost none can.

Recent oil price rises are causing people to think again about fuelling their cars with alcohol. Cars can't drive as far on a tankful of alcohol as they can on a tank of ordinary petrol or diesel, so the drivers will have to fill up more often.

But so long as it's made from a renewable source like sugar cane, alcohol produces less harmful climate-changing gas than either petrol or diesel.

Brazil is also trying something new and making fuel from the oil in soya beans. The oil in the beans is converted using a chemical process that turns it into a fuel called biodiesel.

Biodiesel can also be made from vegetable oils, animal fats and even recycled cooking grease. The first trials of biodiesel are under way in Rio de Janeiro, one of the biggest cities in Brazil.

Six dustbin lorries are running on a fuel made from a mixture of soya oil and recycled vegetable oil. It's unlikely, but wouldn't it be strange if we could refuel our cars at a local fast-food restaurant?

What is "Biodiesel"?
What is "Climate change"?
What is "Renewable"?
Fascinating fact
Fascinating fact

Refuelling with alcohol
Refuelling with alcohol

'Total-flex fuel' car
'Total-flex fuel' car

Biofuels being made
Watch: Biofuels being made