Alternative Fuels & Technology


Biodiesel is a renewable alternative fuel that can be use in standard diesel engines with relatively no additional modifications. Similar to ethanol, biodiesel is typically combined in part with standard diesel fuel.

–  Manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled cooking grease

– B5 (5% biodiesel, 95% standard diesel is very commonly used in fleets)


Plug-in Hybrid:

Plug-in all-electric hybrid vehicles have gained popular cultural appeal with the advent of Tesla Motors

– Contain a solely electric propulsion system

– Currently produced, mass-produced models have poor driving range

Gas-Electric Hybrid:

Gas-electric hybrid vehicles have become increasingly popular over the past decade. They offer the higher fuel economy of plug-in hybrid vehicles, in addition to the driving range of traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. While plug-in hybrids contribute virtually zero emissions from the tailpipe, or lack thereof, gas-electric hybrids contribute to emissions only as much as their petroleum power plant.

– Contain both a traditional IC engine and an auxiliary electric propulsion system

– Popular examples include the Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt


Ethanol is commonly available in E85 form which can be used in flexible fuel vehicles. E85 ethanol is standard gasoline blended that contains anywhere form 51%-85% ethanol.


– Renewable fuel made from common agricultural plants (i.e. corn)

– Almost all of U.S. gasoline contains low-level blends of ethanol

– ~10.6 million flexible fuel vehicles on the roads in the U.S. today

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a highly available, low cost, domestic fuel source that can be used in compressed (CNG) or liquified (LNG) form. Its low carbon content make it a clean burning alternative fuel. There are roughly 112,000 natural gas vehicles in the U.S. and close to 14.8 million worldwide.

Natural Gas Academy – Cummins Westport


– Runs solely on natural gas


– Contains a natural gas propulsion system in addition to an auxiliary gasoline propulsion system


– Run on a natural gas/diesel combination


Similar to natural gas, propane is a highly available alternative fuel source that is clean burning and relatively low cost. Currently there are over 147,000 propane-powered vehicles in the U.S.


– Stored in pressurized containers in liquid form

– Can be used in a Dedicated or Bi-fuel propulsion layout

– World’s third most common engine fuel source

– Higher octane and lower Btu compared to gasoline


HHVs Larger Graph 1

*Images taken from Brandon Commodaro Fact Sheet and corresponding sources


*Unless otherwise noted, all facts, figures, images and summaries were taken and formed directly from or in part by the United States Department of Energy Alternative Fuel Data Center

Authored by: Brandon Commodaro