Home - Background: Fuel Types
These days, you can drive a variety of cars and trucks off the dealer showroom floor that use something besides gasoline or diesel fuel for a power source. The pages linked to the list below discuss some of the alternative fuels that are available today. There are no commercially-available hydrogen-powered vehicles (yet!), but vehicles that use all of the other fuels are available in at least part of the United States.
For each fuel type, the page discusses the following points:
Where does the fuel come from?
Is there a national distribution network already in place, as there is for petroleum fuels, and...
...is it a lot harder to tap into it than it is to drive to your corner gasoline station? (There's a very good list of publicly-accessible refueling stations for several fuel types at the Alternative Fuels Data Center.)
Vehicles running on any of the alternative fuels listed will emit less pollution than petroleum fuels, so I won't harp on that, but there are additional advantages particular to each fuel, including advantages relative to other alternative fuels.
There are, of course, disadvantages to these fuels too, or else our transportation system wouldn't still be almost 100% dependent on petroleum products!
new 11 July 1998, revised 8 January 2000