Choose a diesel-powered car or truck, and you’ve got an alternative fuel vehicle by default. Biodiesel blends can be used in any diesel engine. It is important, however, to use the blends in accordance with the manufacturers’ specifications. With fueling stations in all 50 states, it’s as simple as finding one near you and filling up. Yes, it’s really as easy as that.
The NEV is here to stay: the zero-emissions neighborhood electric vehicle is perfect for use in small communities and towns, industrial parks, and on college campuses. Easy-to-use, it conveniently plugs in for a recharge until you’re ready to go again. And, yes, you can forget the expense and hassle of liquid fuels. Stay tuned for more electric car developments.
You’ve probably heard the hubbub about this farmer-friendly fuel: E85. Drive a flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) and you can fill up on blends of gasoline and ethanol in any percentage up to 85 percent. While E85 is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, it is seasonally adjusted for cold weather, and may at times be less than 85 percent ethanol. To be considered an alternative fuel vehicle (for tax incentives), the car or truck must be able to operate on up to 85 percent ethanol.
Hybrids are a popular subset of electric vehicles. They are just what the name implies: a vehicle of mixed composition—an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. Though the engine can be either gasoline or diesel, the predominant type for passenger vehicles is gasoline. Diesels are commonly used in transit buses, military ground vehicles and railroad locomotives, although diesel-electric pickup trucks are available.
With over 5 million vehicles worldwide, natural and compressed gas is a popular alternative fuel. There are a few light-duty natural gas vehicles still available for order from manufacturers, but if you have a specific vehicle you like, you may want to consider retrofitting it with a natural gas conversion system.
Did you know that propane has actually been used in vehicles since the 1920s? Also called liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), there are more than 9 million propane-powered vehicles worldwide. Vehicles can be equipped with a dedicated propane system or a bi-fuel system (which can use either propane or gasoline).
There are basically two ways to use hydrogen to power a vehicle—burning it in an engine or using it as an energy carrier for a fuel cell. You’ve probably heard of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and while several manufacturers have them in various states of development, none are available at the retail level for 2007. BMW however, has taken the former route and developed the 2007 Hydrogen 7. This is a dual-fuel vehicle that burns both hydrogen and gasoline in its internal combustion engine, allowing it to clear a major hurdle for hydrogen powered vehicle—limited availability of hydrogen refueling stations.