- Alternative fuels generally produce fewer vehicle emissions that contribute to smog, air pollution and global warming;
- Most alternative fuels are not derived from finite fossil-fuel resources; and
- Alternative fuels can help any nation become more energy independent.
2. Natural Gas as an Alternative FuelNatural gas is an alternative fuel that burns clean and is already widely available to people in many countries through utilities that provide natural gas to homes and businesses. When used in natural gas vehiclescars and trucks with specially designed enginesnatural gas produces far fewer harmful emissions than gasoline or diesel.
3. Electricity as an Alternative FuelElectricity can be used as a transportation alternative fuel for battery-powered electric and fuel-cell vehicles. Battery powered electric vehicles store power in batteries that are recharged by plugging the vehicle into a standard electrical source. Fuel-cell vehicles run on electricity that is produced through an electrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined. Fuel cells produce electricity without combustion or pollution.
4. Hydrogen as an Alternative FuelHydrogen can be mixed with natural gas to create an alternative fuel for vehicles that use certain types of internal combustion engines. Hydrogen is also used in fuel-cell vehicles that run on electricity produced by the petrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined in the fuel stack.
5. Propane as an Alternative FuelPropanealso called liquefied petroleum gas or LPGis a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Already widely used as a fuel for cooking and heating, propane is also a popular alternative fuel for vehicles. Propane produces fewer emissions than gasoline, and there is also a highly developed infrastructure for propane transport, storage and distribution.
6. Biodiesel as an Alternative FuelBiodiesel is an alternative fuel based on vegetable oils or animal fats, even those recycled after restaurants have used them for cooking. Vehicle engines can be converted to burn biodiesel in its pure form, and biodiesel can also be blended with petroleum diesel and used in unmodified engines. Biodiesel is safe, biodegradable, reduces air pollutants associated with vehicle emissions, such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.
7. Methanol as an Alternative FuelMethanol, also known as wood alcohol, can be used as an alternative fuel in flexible fuel vehicles that are designed to run on M85, a blend of 85 percent methanol and 15 percent gasoline, but automakers are no longer manufacturing methanol-powered vehicles. Methanol could become an important alternative fuel in the future, however, as a source of the hydrogen needed to power fuel-cell vehicles.