South America Resists Electric Vehicles As Local Fuels Remain In Favor | 3/3/2018 | Staff
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SAO BERNARDO DO CAMPO, Brazil (Reuters) – Meeting in Brazil this week, auto executives from Toyota to GM talked up traditional fuel sources like ethanol, natural gas and diesel, underlining how South America’s protected auto market is likely to resist a broader global move toward electric vehicles for years to come.

Even as automakers revamp their global businesses to focus on electric cars in Europe, North America and Asia, executives who oversee production in Brazil and Argentina are still prioritizing internal combustion engines – in part because of subsidies for locally plentiful fuels.

Future - Argentina - Energy - Gas - Cristiano

“The future of Argentina’s energy is natural gas,” said Cristiano Rattazzi, who heads the country’s unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, as well as its automakers trade group. He added that diesel fuel, out of favor in much of the world, also still has potential in Argentina.

Argentina’s natural gas production is expected to increase dramatically as foreign oil companies and state-owned YPF pour investment into Vaca Muerta, one of the world’s largest shale gas reserves.

Aurelio - Santana - Director - Brazil - Auto

Aurelio Santana, executive director of Brazil’s auto trade group, had similar things to say about ethanol, which powers many of Brazil’s cars.

“It’s very important that the government supports investments in research and development involving ethanol,” Santana said. “We need to maintain what we already have here.”

Desire - Sway - Energy - Producers - Brazil

The desire to stick to what they know underscores the political sway of local energy producers. Recently, Brazil’s legislature issued a series of tax incentives, dubbed Rota 2030, which offer significant benefits to car makers who choose to invest in ethanol research.

The event took...
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