In light of the energy crises of 1973 and 1979, the fact that crude oil was a nonrenewable resource with limited supply became more widely known. As a result, governments throughout the world began efforts to research alternative fuels and regulate the use of petroleum. Because of its long history and compatibility with modern engines, ethanol research and production was subsidized significantly. In most nations, however, despite subsidies, ethanol manufacturers could not keep up with the still very low prices of petroleum.
Throughout the world, there have been many efforts with varying degrees of success at incorporating ethanol into the fuel market. This campaign has been most successful in Brazil, which, since the 1973 oil crisis prompted the development of a national ethanol program (called the Pro-Alcool Program) has become the world’s second biggest producer of fuel ethanol at 4.491 billion gallons per year (the United States is the largest at 4.855 billion gallons per year as of 2006) (Industry Statistics). Brazil has by far the most developed ethanol economy in the world, replacing about 30% of the gasoline that would be used for automobiles (Pernick).