HOUSTON (ICIS)--A total of 960.8m litres (253.8m gallons) of hydrous ethanol was sold during the second half of January, trade group UNICA said in its latest data release.
The figure represents a 32% increase on the same period last year when 725.9m litres were sold, UNICA said.
For January as a whole, a total of 1.83bn litres was sold, also a 32% increase over the same time last year when 1.38bn litres was sold.
“The sold volume is surprising for the Brazilian market if one considers that the volume is also higher by over 2% from December sales, and more important, January normally sees a decline in fuel consumption," said UNICA’s technical director, Antonio de Padua Rodrigues.
Brazil blends anhydrous ethanol into gasoline. The country uses hydrous ethanol, which competes directly with gasoline, as a stand-alone fuel in flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs).
Many Brazilians own flex-fuel cars which allow drivers to switch from gasoline to ethanol. Drivers only substitute for ethanol if its price is less than 73% than that of gasoline.
The data supports recent figures from Brazil’s National Biofuels agency (ANP) showing record hydrous ethanol consumption in 2018.
The ANP said that 19.38bn liters of hydrous ethanol were sold domestically in 2018, an increase of over 42% from 2017.
“Hydrous ethanol has been very competitive against gasoline in most of the consumer markets regionally,” said Rodrigues.
The sugarcane harvest in the centre-south, which accounts for 90% of Brazil's ethanol output, runs from April to November/December.