Consumers- Discovering Alternative Fuels In The Midst of High Gasoline Prices

by Kym Moore - Date: 2007-05-21 - Word Count: 634 Share This!

In light of the much debated topic on rising gasoline and energy costs, some experts say new investment, in both alternative energy and conventional sources, will boost supply and could cut prices in half. If a global recession hits, the drop could be even more dramatic. Alternative fuels are designed to focus on energy conservation, clean air, soil and water. These fuels include biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas, methanol and propane. Globally, you will find many laboratories experimenting with these fuel options, and have been for many years now.

To get a clearer understanding of the origins of these alternative fuels, the Alternative Fuels Data Center of the U.S. Department of Energy defines them as the following:

• "Natural gas" is domestically produced and readily available to end-users through the utility infrastructure. It is also clean burning and produces significantly fewer harmful emissions than reformulated gasoline or diesel when used in natural gas vehicles.

• "Biodiesel" is a domestically produced, renewable fuel that can be manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant greases. Biodiesel is safe, biodegradable, and reduces serious air pollutants such as particulates, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and air toxics.

• "Electricity" can be used as a transportation fuel to power battery electric and fuel cell vehicles. When used to power electric vehicles or EVs, electricity is stored in an energy storage device such as a battery. EV batteries have a limited storage capacity and their electricity must be replenished by plugging the vehicle into an electrical source. The electricity for recharging the batteries can come from the existing power grid or from distributed renewable sources such as solar or wind energy.

• "Ethanol" is an alcohol-based alternative fuel produced by fermenting and distilling starch crops that have been converted into simple sugars. Feedstocks for this fuel include corn, barley, and wheat. Ethanol can also be produced from "cellulosic biomass" such as trees and grasses and is called bioethanol. Ethanol is most commonly used to increase octane and improve the emissions quality of gasoline.

• "Hydrogen (H2)" will play an important role in developing sustainable transportation in the United States, because in the future it may be produced in virtually unlimited quantities using renewable resources. Hydrogen has been used effectively in a number of internal combustion engine vehicles as pure hydrogen mixed with natural gas.

• "Methanol," also known as wood alcohol, can be used as an alternative fuel in flexible fuel vehicles that run on M85 (a blend of 85% methanol and 15% gasoline). However, it is not commonly used because automakers are no longer supplying methanol-powered vehicles.

• "Propane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)" is a popular alternative fuel choice for vehicles because there is already an infrastructure of pipelines, processing facilities, and storage for its efficient distribution.

The transition from using gasoline to alternative fuels has not been an easy process, since there is still much experimentation on mass production. There is an alternative fuel station locator found on the Alternative Fuels Data Center webpage. It displays a map of your city and lists stations found on the fuel you've chosen, based on a certain radius around that city. The lists include the following information:

• miles within the radius of the selected city
• the name of the station carrying that particular type of fuel
• phone number
• address
• city
• state
• zip code
• type of access (private, government only or public).

The resounding clichι, "Necessity is the mother of invention," clearly defines our call to find alternatives to the growing demand of energy consumption. Another concern for consumers is the affordability and efficiency of vehicles designed by automakers to operate on these alternative fuels or some type of converter to install in their existing vehicles to accommodate selected fuels. Although these alternative fuels may not win a popularity vote over gasoline, hopefully we will find a solution that will benefit consumers and be safe for the environment.

Related Tags: energy, alternative fuels, fuel, consumers, gasoline, high gasoline prices

Kym Gordon Moore is the author of the eBook, "Alphabet Soup: 5 Main Ingredients for Turning Words into a Bowl of Hot Topics!" Many of her articles, essays, short stories and poems appeared in a variety of magazines, newspapers, ezines and anthologies. She is a creative marketing strategist for Moore 2 It Productions and coordinates cost effective, creative marketing packages for budget conscious new authors and new small business owners.

Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

© The article above is copyrighted by it's author. You're allowed to distribute this work according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Recent articles in this category:

Most viewed articles in this category: