Brazil’s President Lula at the 2010 Challenge Bibendum

President Lula opening speech at the 2010 Challenge Bibendum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When you listen to Brazil’s President Lula talk he is mesmerizing. Lula has pulled Brazil out of the brink of bankruptcy, self loathing and the dependence of foreign oil.

Lula was the first President to attend a Challenge Bibendum.  He took the opportunity to address the international media corp that waited an hour for him to arrive. The media was not disappointed.

Brazil has flex-fuel and tri-flex cars. Flex-fuel cars take either gasoline or ethanol. Tri-flex adds natural gas. Usually taxi cabs are tri-flex.

As expected Lula talked about Brazil being off the dependence of foreign oil. He talked about the advent of biodiesel and said that currently Brazil is B5 capable. That means that Brazil’s diesel cars can take diesel made 95% from oil, and 5% made from non-petroleum sources.

Lula expects to up the ante B12, 12% non-petroleum diesel, by the time the Olympics come to Brazil.

I didn’t expect Lula to address the Gulf oil gusher issue, but he did, and he was passionate and accurate. If you know that Lula was poor as a child, you’ll understand why he is passionate about Brazil not having the respect of other nations.

If you know that Brazil is the only country off the dependence of foreign oil since the oil crisis in the ’70s, you’ll understand why he thinks Brazil deserves more respect than they get. Brazil is supposed to be our ally, but we tax heavily any ethanol imports Brazil would like to sell us, in order to protect our corn farmers. On the other hand, we don’t tax our nemesis, Chavez, Venezuela’s oil as heavily, because we are addicted to it.

In his address Lula said that if this Gulf gusher had happened in the Rio Bay that the rest of the world would not be as nice to Brazil as they have been to the United States.

Lula addressed the gulf gusher, saying that he thought the only way to fix this gusher was to drill another well beside it and implode the gusher, something that will take months to do.

Lula also talked about Iran. As though needing to explain himself he talked about the fact that “you can’t be in negotiations with someone if you aren’t talking to them, if you aren’t showing them mutual respect”.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.