Alternative Vehicular Fuel FAQ

For most car owners, dealing with gas is a regularly scheduled part of driving. However, more and more alternative fuel sources are becoming available for cars and trucks. If you are interested in learning more about these nontraditional fuels, here are some frequently asked question you should familiarize yourself with.

What types of fuel sources are there available?

There are 6 primary types of alternative vehicular fuel available to consumers:

  • Natural gas is one of the cleanest burning fuels and comes in both compressed and liquefied forms. Some natural gas-fueled cars run solely on natural gas, while others draw from both natural gas and diesel fuel. Though these cars are not widely sold in America, conventional gas and diesel-fueled cars can be converted to accommodate natural gas.
  • Biodiesel is a renewable and biodegradable fuel created from many organic materials such as vegetable oils and animal fats. Biodiesel is easily obtained because of its natural ingredients, but may not work optimally in cold weather depending on the material blend.
  • Propane, also known as LPG, is a less expensive, cleaner-burning fossil fuel than gasoline. LPG-fueled vehicles are fairly limited, but may be ordered specially through certain dealers or converted from conventional vehicles.
  • Electricity is a popular alternative fuel choice in America with many vehicle verities on the market. Electric cars can be either hybrids, cars that run on both electricity and gas, and plug-ins, cars that run only on electricity. Using electricity instead of tradition fossil fuels can greatly reduce emissions and benefit the environment.
  • Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from corn or other plants and is found in almost all of the US's gasoline. Higher concentrations of ethanol can be used in flexible fuel vehicles as well as car models newer than 2001.
  • Hydrogen is produced domestically by various types of fossil fuels (wind, coal, biomass, etc.) and has the potential for zero greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the benefits to alternative fuel sources?

The benefits to these alternative sources are immense, particularly in regards to the environment. Greenhouse gasses emitted by cars and other industrial services have been depleting the Earth's ozone for decades. Utilizing renewable, alternative fuel sources can help combat this as well as help with the declining availability of natural oil reserves.

Are there any downsides?

Unfortunately for many, the initial cost of most alternative fuel run cars is still quite high. This high price can be daunting, but there are some federal tax incentives for individuals who purchase electric vehicles.