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Ethanol may be causing elevated air pollution in Brazil, scientists report in a peer-reviewed study. The study may have public policy implications in the United States, where federal law requires the transportation fuel mix to contain approximately 10 percent ethanol.

Sugar cane-based ethanol, which is heavily subsidized by the Brazilian government, powers many of the cars in Brazil. However, a recent study of Sao Paulo air conditions found ethanol powered vehicles may be linked to the city’s smog problem. Scientists found that when higher ethanol prices induced drivers to switch from ethanol to gasoline, the city’s smog levels declined.

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