Alternative Fuels and Technologies

Many other alternative fuels are being used today in place of gasoline and diesel fuel, including:

  • Natural gas – domestically produced and available to end-users through the utility infrastructure. It can either be stored onboard a vehicle as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). Natural gas also can be blended with hydrogen.  For more information on Natural Gas as an alternative fuel click here.
  • Electricity – stored in batteries or produced onboard.  For more information on Electricity as an alternative fuel click here.
  • Propane – produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining.  For more information on Propane as an alternative fuel click here.
  • Emerging Fuels - Several emerging vehicle fuels are in early stages of development.  These fuels include: Biobutanol, Biogas, Biomass to Liquids, Coal to Liquids, Fischer-Tropsch Diesel, Gas to Liquids, Hydrogenation-Derived Renewable Diesel, and P-Series.  For more information on Emerging Fuels click here.
  • Biodiesel - Biodiesel is a renewable alternative fuel produced from sources such as new and used vegetable oils and animal fats.  It is a cleaner-burning replacement for petroleum-based diesel fuel.  For more information on biodiesel click here.
  • Ethanol - Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from various plant materials, which collectively are called "biomass".  Ethanol is increasingly available in E85, an alternative fuel that can be used in flexible fuel vehicles.  For more information on ethanol click here.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) use alternative fuels instead of gasoline or diesel fuel. AFVs range in size and shape, from small commuter cars to large 18-wheeler trucks. A number of automobile manufacturers offer light-duty vehicles for personal transportation.

AFVs are well-suited for fleets in certain "niche" markets. Taxi fleets, for example, with high-mileage vehicles that drive fairly centralized routes, may benefit from using a less expensive alternative fuel such as natural gas or propane. Local delivery fleets-with low mileage, high-use vehicles that frequently idle in traffic or must often start and stop may be good candidates for electric vehicles. Medium- and heavy-duty AFV applications include transit buses, airport shuttles, delivery trucks and vans, school buses, refuse haulers, and street sweepers.

AFV Types

  • Flex-Fuel Vehicles can be fueled with gasoline or, depending on the vehicle, with either methanol (M85) or ethanol (E85). The vehicles have one tank and can accept any mixture of gasoline and the alternative fuel.
  • Bifuel or Dual-Fuel Vehicles have two tanks—one for gasoline and one for either natural gas or propane, depending on the vehicle. The vehicles can switch between the two fuels.
  • Dedicated Vehicles are designed to be fueled only with an alternative fuel. Electric vehicles are a special type of dedicated vehicle.
  • Hybrid Vehicles combine the best features of two different energy sources, one of which is electric power. Until alternative fuels really catch on, hybrids can be a good choice. A hybrid gets about twice the fuel economy as a conventional car of the same size and capacity.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) are powered by conventional or alternative fuels as well as electric power stored in a battery.  The vehicle can be plugged into an electric power source to charge the battery.  PHEV's are sometimes called extended range electric vehicles.


  • Arkansas Biofuels Suppliers

    Find the nearest gas station that carries biofuels.

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  • Clean Cities' Guide

    Clean Cities' Guide to Alternative Fuel and Advanced Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles.

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  • Clean Cities 2011 Vehicle Buyer’s Guide

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  • Alternative Fueling Station Locator

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