A Closer Look At The Pros And Cons Of Alternatively Fueled Vehicles

Author: Dale Smock

A closer look at the pros and cons of alternatively fueled vehicles

Due to growing concerns over environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, a number of alternatives to traditional unleaded gasoline have emerged as viable choices for vehicle fuels. All of them have their own specific attributes, advantages and disadvantages.

Depending on your needs, you may benefit from the purchase of an alternatively fueled vehicle (AFV). If you are interested in taking the plunge and trying one of these automobiles for yourself, you'll want to make sure that you have a comprehensive knowledge regarding all aspects of AFVs and the substances they use as fuel.

Methanol, ethanol, compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and electricity are some of the most common alternative fuels. Since they became permitted on the U.S. market in 1992, different types of AFVs have emerged to make use of these fuel sources.

Some AFVs can run on standard unleaded gasoline or the alternative energy they were originally designed for, and some run on a combination of traditional and alternative energy. Gasoline-electric hybrid cars are a prominent example of the latter.

Identifying an AFV is easy - the law requires that they are specifically labeled, whether they are being sold new or used. These labels must provide the estimated cruising range of the vehicle - necessary knowledge since some alternative-fuel-only AFVs have a driving distance that is considerably shorter than traditional vehicles or hybrid cars.

The labels should also provide information on fuel availability, operating costs, performance standards, energy renewability and levels of carbon emissions. (This does not specifically apply to gasoline-electric hybrids, but the dealer will probably provide this info anyway.)

Once you have all this knowledge, compare and contrast based on your experience driving a traditional gas-powered car. If you have the money and it seems like a worthwhile purchase, go for it. If not, don't feel obligated to buy something you don't want.  

Have you thought about buying an AFV?

In Brief

  • Due to growing concerns over environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, a number of alternatives to traditional unleaded gasoline have emerged as viable choices for vehicle fuels.
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