Al-ter-na-tive Fu-el

noun a fuel other than gasoline for powering motor vehicles


Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources – such as agricultural crops or yellow cooking grease from restaurants. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.


Ethanol is an alcohol that is used in gasoline—resulting in a cleaner-burning fuel with higher octane. Ethanol is blended with petroleum based gasoline for use in motor vehicles. E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol – 15% petroleum gasoline. Corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol production. Ethanol can also be made from other grains such as sorghum as well as from “biomass” sources such as corn cobs, cornstalks, wheat straw, rice straw, switchgrass, vegetable and forestry waste and other organic matter.


Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Propane): Propane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a clean-burning fossil fuel that can be used to power internal combustion engines. Propane is produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It accounts for about 2% of the energy used in the United States.


Compressed Natural Gas: Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons, predominantly methane (CH4). Natural gas has a high octane rating and excellent properties for spark-ignite internal combustion engines. Natural gas accounts for approximately one quarter of the energy used in the United States.


Hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. At Earth surface temperatures and pressures, it is a colorless, odorless gas (H2). Hydrogen is rarely found alone in nature. It is usually bonded with other elements. Hydrogen can be used to fuel internal combustion engines and fuel cells, both of which can power low- or zero-emissions vehicles such as fuel cell vehicles. Major research and development efforts are aimed at making hydrogen vehicles practical for widespread use.


Electricity can be used to power electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles directly from the power grid. Vehicles that run on electricity produce no tailpipe emissions. The only emissions that can be attributed to electricity are those generated in the production process at the power plant. Electricity is easily accessible for short-range driving.

Clean Cities Reflects on 20 Years of Alternative Fuels


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