Japan Plans Its Own Green Fuel

This could be the next arena in the competition between General Motors and Toyota. Japan is hoping Sake, a strong, fermented rice wine — Japan's national drink and an essential accompaniment in sushi restaurants — will also fuel cars one day soon.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And let's stay on the subject of cars. As we heard earlier, President Bush is pushing U.S. carmakers to use ethanol made from corn. But Japan has a plan to manufacture its own kind of green fuel.

Our last word in business today is Sake - strong fermented rice wine. It is Japan's national drink. It's an essential accompaniment to sushi restaurants. And now Japan is hoping the stuff will also fuel cars - soon anyway.

A government funded pilot program will produce cheap ethanol brew made from rice with the help of local farmers who donate their farm waste like rice hulls. If this plan takes off, drivers can look forward to the sweet and sour aroma of unfiltered Sake in gas stations across Japan.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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