There are more than a dozen alternative fuels in production or under development for use in alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technology vehicles. The federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 identifies six of these fuels as alternative fuels. Private entities and governmental fleets are the primary users of these fuels and vehicles, but consumers are gaining interest in them. This has helped to provide a boost for the infrastructure and availability for consumer use. When using alternative fuels as a replacement for or in conjunction with gasoline, we can reduce petroleum use and vehicle emissions. All alternative fuels can be domestically produced, and most provide significant air quality benefits when used as a vehicle fuel.
Natural gas is comprised mostly of methane which is commonly captured in geologic deposits, such as shale, and from renewable sources such as landfills, wastewater, and agriculture/dairy operations. There are light-, medium-, and heavy-duty natural gas vehicles available. Compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are considered alternative fuels under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Adsorbed natural gas (ANG) is also an emerging technology for natural gas use in transportation. Sources of natural gas include fossil natural gas and renewable natural gas (RNG).
Propane (or liquefied petroleum gas, LPG) is an odorless, nontoxic, colorless gas. A product of petroleum refining, propane is available for vehicular use and has a high-octane rating. Like compressed natural gas, propane reduces both carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions. It is also a reliable fuel because propane distributors and farmers have used it for over 60 years. In addition, many auto manufacturers make propane vehicles, which usually cost about $3,000 more than a typical gasoline vehicle.
The distribution network for propane is well developed, and many small stations carry the fuel due to its popularity in farm and recreational vehicles.
The Clean Cities Coalitions from Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee have joined with the Center for Transportation and the Environment and have gathered resources to help you learn more about AFVs and calculate the benefits of deploying alternative fuel vehicles as part of your fleet or daily lives.
Through the Southeast Regional Alternative Fuels Market Initiatives Program, we focus on natural gas and propane. If you are interested in electric vehicles, resources are available on the site that were developed through the Southeast Regional EV Readiness Planning Program. There are a number of opportunities for you to download the Readiness Workbooks. The workbooks provide resources and tools to help educate consumers and fleets about AFVs and to help make sure you are prepared to deploy AFVs.