In the simplest form, an alternative fuel is one that is not produced by using crude oil. They are simply fuels that replace conventional gasoline as a means of powering vehicles. Alternative fuels have desirable energy efficiency and pollution reduction features. The 1990 Clean Air Act encourages development and sale of alternative fuels. Basically, alternative fuels include methane, propane, ethanol, and compressed gas among others. The use of alterative fuels informed people that they should switch to alternative fuel vehicles now.There are two types of alternative fuel cars – those that are originally designed to run on these new fuels and those that have been converted to run on alternative fuels. Car companies will also make hybrid vehicles that can run on either gasoline or other fuels. Many people call these cars “green vehicles” because of their positive effect on the environment.Since the trend is toward producing and buying environmentally friendly vehicles, nearly every major car manufacturer has at least one green vehicle in their inventory. We’re relatively sure that as alternative fuels become more and more popular because of the cost and the positive effects on our environment, the number of green vehicles will dramatically increase in the next few years.As of 2006, here is a list of some of the green vehicles
Toyota PriusMany of the vehicles listed above are hybrid vehicles which mean that they can run on both conventional gasoline as well as alternative fuels. As we said, the above list is for 2006 vehicles. The list for 2007 is much larger.There are also two other types of alternative fuel cars that are becoming more and more popular. First, there is the electric vehicle. This car is exactly what it says it is. You plug it into an electrical outlet to charge the battery and then drive without using any fuel at all. However, these vehicles are generally not meant to travel at high speeds.A second type of AFV is the fuel cell vehicle. These cars get electrical energy from a fuel cell instead of from a battery. There are different kinds of fuel cell vehicles, but most manufacturers prefer cells that use a proton exchange membrane that uses hydrogen to produce an electrical current to run the motor. The only type of exhaust with this type of vehicle is water – believe it or not!Besides the obvious advantages to owning an AFV, the government is also stepping in to make it even more advantageous. People who buy these types of vehicles are given tax breaks on their income taxes. Additionally, many states also offer incentives and car manufacturers even offer rebates or discounts.It’s kind of exciting to think about the fact that we can now power our vehicles using things like vegetable oil, animal fats, and even wood! It brings to mind the movie “Back to the Future” where Doc would power his DeLorean time machine using garbage as fuel!