Note: This report contains valuable but dated material. For more current information see WSPPN's Fleet Fuel Efficiency/Alternative Fuels Resources.

Alternative Fuels for Fleet Vehicles

Publication Date: May 1999
Links Last Checked: June 2004

Diesel Fuel
Natural Gas (both compressed and liquefied)
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (commonly called propane)
Electricity from batteries
Hydrogen including the use of fuel cells

Additional Resources:

Fleets & Fleet Management
General Alternative Fuel Programs
Fuel Cells, Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles, Batteries
Natural Gas
Alcohol Fuels
Alternative Vehicles & the Transportation Sector
Other Resources for Information about Alternative Fuels
Other Alternative Transportation Options


The development and use of the internal combustion engine has been an economic and developmental boon to the United States. It is now easy to go across the country in our own vehicles at a rate literally unheard of 100 years ago. However, using petroleum for transportation is not without environmental costs. When petroleum is burned, carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs,) also known as reactive hydrocarbons), hydroxyl ions (OH-), and particulate matter (PM) are emitted. Additionally, NOx and reactive hydrocarbons form low level ozone (O3) (a major component of smog) in the presence of sunlight.

These pollutants have numerous health and environmental impacts, including urban smog and, perhaps most worrisome, global climate change (also known as global warming). Burning the fuels is not the only environmental risk. The extraction and transportation of petroleum can also have significant environmental impact. There are few, if any, people who have forgotten the vast environmental impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound. Although this spill has not, thankfully, been repeated in U.S. waters, there are many smaller spills that happen on a more "regular" basis that also have a detrimental effect on the environment, albeit in a smaller impact area. The grounding of the New Carissa off the Oregon coast is only the most recent, well-publicized oil spill in the Pacific Northwest.

It is important to remember that many products basic to modern life, in addition to transportation, are dependent upon petroleum. Most of the chemicals and other products that we use daily are made from petroleum: plastics, fibers, solvents, fertilizers, engine fluids and detergents are just a few examples. According to a July 1997 report by the U.S. Department of Energy ("Summary of the Technical and Policy Analysis conducted by The Department of Energy in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Section 506 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992"):

Petroleum used in transportation alone exceeds total domestic oil production by 2 million barrels per day. This gap is growing, and is projected to reach nearly 6 million barrels per day by the year 2010… .

As noted by the Energy Information Administration, Office of Energy Markets and End Use, DOE, in "Describing Current and Potential Markets for Alternative-Fuel Vehicles" March 1996:

The transportation sector [in the United States] consumes 65 percent of the total petroleum products supplied, and, by far, the largest share of product supplied to the transportation sector is motor gasoline. In the United States, the transportation sector contributes:

  • about one-third of CO2 emissions
  • about one-third of NOx emissions
  • fewer than 1 percent of anthropogenic methane emissions
  • 77 percent of CO emissions
  • 45 percent of nitrogen oxide (NO2)emissions
  • more than one-third of non-methane VOCs

What can be done to reduce our reliance on burning petroleum for fuel? There is at least one option: alternative fuels. Although the use of alternative fuels for personal cars hasn't advanced much beyond the curiosity level (for the wealthy and/or environmentally conscious out there), fleets are a whole other story.

What is prompting fleet managers to look at alternative fuels? Federal requirements are one driver. As noted on the Office of Government Policy's (OGP) Federal Vehicle Policy Division (MTV) website,

…the alternative fuel acquisition requirements of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 apply to Federal, State, and fuel provider fleets located in certain geographical areas. These geographical areas are metropolitan statistical areas or consolidated metropolitan statistical areas, as established by the Bureau of Census, with a 1980 population of more than 250,000 people.

There are other drivers being placed on fleet managers in individual states. California has regulatory requirements regarding a reduction in emissions based upon a fleet average for manufacturers (Low-Emission Vehicle Program). At least 10% of the cars sold in the state must meet zero emission standards by 2003. Massachusetts, New York, Maine and Vermont have adapted these "California standards" and requirements for low and zero emission vehicles, although the implementation date for the LEVs may differ by state. In areas where regulations have not yet mandated alternative fuels, the change has been induced by managers interested in efficiency and a desire to get ahead of the game as far as environmental management is concerned.

Fleet managers are in an ideal situation to consider vehicles using alternatives to petroleum fuels. Transportation fleets generally have refueling facilities on site (regardless of the fuel used); often the vehicles used in the fleets have a "set" mileage day in and day out (for example, delivery of baby diapers, local print shop deliveries, postal services). There is rarely a requirement to carry more than four passengers (and even that may be a large number of passengers for a fleet vehicle). The fleet managers have complete control over the maintenance and upkeep of their fleets and facilities.

There are numerous examples of Pacific Northwest fleets using alternative fuels. A few specific examples include:

As noted in the examples above, there are a number of different fuels that fall under the heading "alternative fuels" for fleet vehicles. For this report, these include:

A comprehensive lifecycle environmental impact analysis of the production and use of alternative fuels is beyond the scope of this report. A brief overview of these fuel types is provided below, with information given about reductions in emissions as compared to gasoline and diesel powered vehicles. For comparison, a similar overview of gasoline and diesel is also provided. Most of the information found in this section was gathered from the sources listed at the end of the document. 1


What it is: Gasoline is a mixture of several hundred types of complex hydrocarbons. Most of the hydrocarbons containing four to twelve carbon atoms, and have a boiling point between 80-437 F.

How it is produced: Gasoline is produced from the refining of crude petroleum.

Environmental Characteristics: Emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles are fairly extensive and include CO, CO2, NOx, SOx, VOCs, OH-, and PM. Some of these emissions are known or probable human carcinogens, including benzene (known), formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and 1,3-butadiene (probable). Gasoline can also impact the environment if spilled, since it spreads on water surfaces and quickly penetrates porous soils and groundwater.

From "A General Introduction to Alternative Fuel Vehicles," California Energy Commission:

From 1992 to 1994, one of the most comprehensive side-by-side studies of alternative fuels was conducted by Battelle Memorial Institute on vehicles in Southern California. The CleanFleet Project, or the South Coast Alternative Fuels Demonstration Project, tested six fuels in 111 Federal Express delivery vans, which drove more than three million miles during the two-year study. The study used Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford vans that were similar in characteristics and in usage.

The alternative fuels had fewer emissions than regular gasoline and were cleaner than reformulated gasoline [reformulated gasoline (RFG) is designed to reduce the emissions of, volatile organic compounds with the addition of oxygenates.] Use of compressed natural gas showed carbon monoxide (CO) levels 65 to 76 percent lower than regular gasoline. Ozone reactivity for CNG was 89 to 96 percent cleaner than gasoline. Methanol vehicles had 37 percent fewer CO emissions than gasoline and up to 56 percent less ozone reactivity. Propane-powered vehicles had 43 to 46 percent less CO and 57 to 61 percent less ozone reactivity. Reformulated Phase 2 gasoline was also cleaner with 13 to 17 percent less CO on two types of vans (one percent higher than regular unleaded gasoline on Ford vans). RFG's ozone reactivity was 12 to 38 percent cleaner than regular unleaded gasoline. The study also included two electric vehicles.

Health & Safety Information: Gasoline is extremely flammable, is highly volatile, and has a corresponding risk of fire and explosion. As noted above, gasoline contains known and probable human carcinogens. Gasoline also contains a relatively high proportion of hydrocarbons which can affect the human nervous system. Gasoline evaporates quickly and leaves little residue when spilled.

Additional Information: The complex chemical nature of gasoline requires a complex production process, but also allows for significant flexibility in adjusting fuel specifications to meet different performance and emission standards. In the U. S., highway use accounts for over 95 percent of the gasoline consumed, with automobiles and motorcycles making up the majority of those highway miles.

Diesel fuel

What it is: Diesel fuel is also a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, with a higher number of carbon atoms. The components in diesel fuel fall into higher boiling ranges: between 370-650 F.

How it is produced: Diesel fuel is also refined from crude petroleum.

Environmental Characteristics: Diesel engines are more efficient than gasoline engines and emit lower amounts of reactive hydrocarbons and CO. Since diesel engines operate at lower temperatures than gasoline engines, they also emit lower amounts of NOx. However, burning diesel fuel increases PM. Diesel has 90 times as much sulfur as gasoline and heavier hydrocarbons (particularly aromatics) which do not burn easily, and are emitted as particulates.

Health & Safety Information: Diesel fuel has a very high flashpoint, implying a higher safety margin than gasoline in terms of handling. By most fire-safety measures, diesel is a safer fuel than gasoline or the other spark-ignition fuels discussed. In addition, if spilled, diesel is not as likely to readily spread on water. As noted above, the exhaust from diesel fuel consumption contains a significant amount of PM, considered by EPA to be a probable human carcinogen.

Additional Information: Diesel fuel is the second most common transportation fuel used in the U.S. Diesel serves primarily a commercial heavy-duty fleet vehicle market and is the preferred power source due to the fuel efficiency of the engines (about 25 percent more efficient than gasoline engines) and their rugged durability.

Natural Gas - Compressed Natural Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas

What it is: Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons - mainly methane (CH4). As indicated by its name, natural gas is in gaseous form. It can be stored on a vehicle either in a compressed gaseous state (CNG) or in a liquefied state (LNG). When found as LNG, it is super-cooled to a temperature of minus 260 F and contained in insulated, pressurized tanks. For the remainder of this discussion, information that applies to both CNG and LNG will be presented as information about natural gas vehicles (NGVs); information that is specific to either CNG or LNG will be noted as such.

How it is produced: Natural gas is primarily extracted from gas wells or in conjunction with crude oil production; it can also be produced as a "by-product" of landfill operations.

Environmental Characteristics: Natural gas has low CO emissions, virtually no PM emissions, and reduced VOCs. Per unit of energy, natural gas contains less carbon than any other fossil fuel, leading to lower CO2 emissions per vehicle mile traveled. Specific emission reductions for NGVs compared to gasoline are:

Another emission reduction is achieved when fueling NGVs. Gasoline vehicles have evaporative emissions during both fueling and use, which, according to the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, can account for at least 50 percent of a gasoline vehicle's total hydrocarbon emissions. Finally, the ozone-producing reactivity of natural gas is up to 80-90 percent below gasoline.

Economics: Because natural gas burns cleaner, there is a reduction in the vehicle maintenance needed, including a longer time between oil changes, and an increase in the life of spark plugs.

Many utilities and other sources note the lower cost of natural gas as a fuel. According to the Natural Gas Vehicle Forum (, specifically,,

"… as of October 1998 natural gas cost between $0.95 and $1.041 compared to an equivalent gallon of gasoline, in the Southern California region."

In the Puget Sound region natural gas costs $0.80 per gallon gasoline equivalent (gge) (when purchased through Puget Sound Energy). It can be considerably less if an individual fleet owns their own station: $0.45 per gge. It can be even cheaper if the fleet manager decides to purchase the natural gas directly from the producers themselves.

The California Energy Commission has also identified some costs for natural gas. In March 1997, the cost was estimated at $0.70 to $1.00, also in California. Although prices are dependent upon the local natural gas utility, these numbers are good estimates for the cost of natural gas for fleets. The March 1997 estimate for installing fast-fill compressor facilities for a small private or public fleet of about ten vehicles, (in California) was between $180,000 to $250,000.

Health & Safety information: Natural gas is lighter than air; a spill would disperse into the air, as opposed to pooling on the ground or entering sewer or water systems. However, in an enclosed area, natural gas will rise to the ceiling, which could be a potential fire and ignition risk.

Natural gas has a higher ignition temperature than gasoline, and also a narrower range of flammability. As a result, natural gas is less risky than gasoline in terms of accidental ignition or combustion.

LNG has some additional safety issues that CNG does not have. Since LNG is cooled to -260F, all bodily contact with liquid fuel, cold metals or cold gas should be avoided; frost bite can occur. Also, methane gas detectors must be installed at facilities, because odorants cannot be added to LNG.

Additional information: Natural gas has played a minor role historically in the U.S. transportation market, perhaps partly because it is more difficult to store than liquid fuels. Natural gas is a North American resource, delivered continuously through a gas pipeline network in the United States to end users. Much of the natural gas used in the Northwest is imported from Canada.

NGVs are more common in other countries. Italy, New Zealand, and the former Soviet Union all have more than 150,000 NGVs in operation. Australia and Canada are also significant users, although Canada uses fewer than the U.S. According to numbers available on the Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration website (, there were over 85,000 NGVs operating in the United States in 1998.

Chuck Dougherty, Program Manager - Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Puget Sound Energy, notes that one of the advantages of natural gas is that is it "provides an answer today," one that allows both the fuel provider and its customers to do business exactly the way they are currently operating. Natural gas allows a change to an alternative fuel without requiring an immediate switch away from internal combustion engines and the investment supporting their production. Just as important as the availability and ease of transition to natural gas is the fact that the vehicle technology is available and ready now for commercialization.

There are two different methods of filling NGVs. The "fast fill" method is completed in approximately five to six minutes, and uses compressed gas stored in cascades of cylinders. There is also a "timed fill" method completed in five to eight hours, which is usually performed overnight. One concern for the storage and transmission is that water content in the natural gas can be an issue when storing in pipes and tanks that could be rusted by the water. However, this is not an issue in the Pacific Northwest, where the average water content is 0.5 pounds per million feet of gas. As a comparison, the National Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard calls for not more than 7 pounds per million feet of gas.

The performance of NGVs is comparable to those of gasoline-powered vehicles. NGVs experience no loss of power, and may have greater power and efficiency. One reason has to do with the nature of fuel itself: natural gas has a 130 octane rating, compared with 87 to 94 octane rating of gasoline. (Octane rating refers to the fuel's ability to resist uncontrolled combustion or "knock.")

A unit volume of CNG has less than one-fourth of the energy content of gasoline, requiring a greater storage requirement for the vehicle. Based upon the physical state of the fuel, approximately two to four times more LNG than CNG can be stored on a vehicle.

Compressed Natural Gas
Depending on make and model, 1999 model year CNG vehicles have a driving range of approximately 120-180 miles, with a low of 70 miles and a high of 210 miles. Another way to increase the driving range is to use bi-fueled vehicles that can switch from natural gas to gasoline (for example, EPA Region 10, as noted above). However, there are significant losses in emission benefits once the vehicle is no longer a dedicated NGV.

The emissions of aftermarket CNG conversions are of particular concern. Fleet operators need to make sure that all vehicle conversions meet EPA Memorandum 1-A Requirements and are installed by a qualified aftermarket installer.

Liquefied Natural Gas
There are some areas where LNG vehicles differ from CNG vehicles. These include:

  • Higher energy density. A greater volume of LNG can be stored in a smaller space. This allows vehicle designers and engineers to increase range while decreasing weight, where a real advantage can be had in long-haul high fuel volume use vehicle.
  • Speed of fueling. Large vehicles can often be filled in the "fast fill" time of four to six minutes.
  • Control over fuel composition. The composition of LNG can be determined with a high degree of accuracy since most LNG produced for vehicles is 99+ percent methane. By having this control, the vehicle is able to have a more finely tuned fuel system and engine, leading to optimization of engine performance, greater fuel economy, and lower emissions.
  • Delivery and availability. LNG is similar to gasoline, in that it can be transported in trailer trucks, railcars, barges and ships. The delivery infrastructure is already in place.
  • It is possible to have liquids develop in LNG fuels. These liquid "slugs" won't gassify, and reduce the efficiency of the fuel.
  • The boil-off factor of LNG as a fuel needs to be maintained.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas/Propane

What it is: Generally, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) consists of various hydrocarbons, mainly of propane, propylene, butane, and butylene in various mixtures. However, for fuels in the United States, the mixture is mainly propane a relatively simple molecule (C3H8) compared to gasoline, which undergoes more complete combustion when used as a fuel.

How it is produced: LPG is a byproduct of natural gas processing and petroleum refining.

Environmental Characteristics: The propane vehicles can have lower emission of reactive hydrocarbons (about one-third less), NOx (20 percent less), and CO (60 percent less) than gasoline vehicles. However, if the vehicle is an aftermarket conversion, emission performance will varies widely depending on the type and quality of the conversion.

Economics: Propane retail prices are, on average, about the same as unleaded gasoline prices. According to information available from the Energy Information Administration, in January 1999, propane cost Commercial/Institutional Consumers $0.769 per gallon and cost $0.757 through retail outlets. Neither one of these prices include taxes. It is important to remember that propane is used in several different sectors, which can make a direct comparison to gasoline at the pump a bit more difficult.

Health & Safety information: If LPG leaks or is spilled, it will remain on the ground or enter water systems.

Additional information: Propane is used in all major end-use sectors as a heating fuel, engine fuel, cooking fuel, and chemical feedstock. The components of LPG are gases at normal temperatures and pressures. With moderate pressure (100 to 300 psi), they condense to liquids, making them easy to store and transport. When LPG is used in a vehicle, it is stored as a liquid and changes back to a gas before it is burned in the engine. With the fuel in a gaseous state, it mixes readily with air to allow for nearly complete combustion (thereby reducing some exhaust emissions such as carbon monoxide) and it has few cold-weather starting problems. LPG has many of the storage and transportation advantages of liquids, along with the fuel advantages of gases.

LPG/propane has been extensively used as a road fuel for several decades, and was in relatively widespread automotive use (mainly fleets) prior to the enactment of Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT). In fact, it appears to be the primary alternative fuel in use today. Propane is used mostly in delivery vehicles, especially those that are used to deliver propane.

LPG in the storage tank has an energy density that is about 73 percent of the energy density of gasoline, by volume. [Energy density affects the volume and weight of fuel contained in onboard storage tanks; it can used as a measure of energy content.] It requires slightly larger fuel tanks or more frequent fill-ups in order to maintain an equivalent gasoline range. However, survey data available in a 1996 DOE Energy Information Administration report indicated that propane vehicles had more fuel storage capacity than conventional-fuel vehicles. The average fuel storage capacity for dedicated vehicles in the light-duty category was approximately 91 percent higher for propane vehicles than for conventional-fuel vehicles.

Propane vehicles have been shown to have less carbon build-up than conventionally fueled vehicles. According to the National Propane Gas Association, spark plugs from a propane vehicle last from 80,000 to 100,000 miles and propane engines can last two to three times longer. Currently, only one automobile manufacturer offers an LPG vehicle. The majority of propane powered vehicles are converting using aftermarket kits. As with CNG conversions, fleet operators converting vehicles to propane must comply with EPA Memorandum 1-A.


What it is: Methanol is an alcohol fuel. The primary alternative methanol fuel being used is M-85, which is made up of 85 percent methanol and 15 percent gasoline. In the future, neat methanol (M-100, 100 percent methanol), may also be used.

How it is produced: Methanol is created from a synthesis gas (hydrogen and CO), which is reacted in the presence of a catalyst. In general, most of the world's methanol is produced by a process using natural gas as a feedstock. Methanol can also be produced from nonpetroleum feedstocks such as coal and biomass.

Environmental Characteristics: Emissions from M-85 vehicles are slightly lower than in gasoline powered vehicles. Smog-forming emissions are generally 30-50 percent lower; NOx and hydrocarbons emissions from M-85 vehicles are similar to slightly lower. Total toxic air pollutants suspected or known to cause cancer are 50 percent less with M-85, and nonexistent with M-100. However, CO emissions are usually equal or slightly higher than in gasoline vehicles.

Economics: California has evaluated the economics of alternative fuels. In March 1996, M85 cost between $0.919 and $1.20 cents per gallon, retail. The "gallon equivalent" to gasoline is $1.567 to $2.04 cents per gallon, since it takes 1.7 gallons of M85 to equal a gallon of gasoline It is also possible that maintenance costs for M-85 vehicles may be reduced in the long term, since fuel-flexible vehicles run cleaner. However, for methanol vehicles, acid-neutralizing oils and lubricants are necessary, and these are generally more expensive than the conventional oils and lubricants.

Health & Safety information: Methanol is highly toxic; there are safety concerns with ingestion, eye or skin contact, and inhalation. Methanol is not a carcinogen, reproductive or mutagenic hazard, and not a threat to a fetus.

Low-flame luminosity makes methanol difficult to detect in the daylight. Unhealthy exposure can occur through fume inhalation, ingestion, or direct contact with skin. Gasoline added to methanol (M-85) provides a color to the flame, as well as adding a smell and color to the methanol.

According to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, M-85 has a much lower frequency of vehicle-related fires and a lower hazard to people and property. Not only is M-85 more difficult to ignite than gasoline (due to its high flash point), if ignited it burns in a more controlled manner with less heat than other transportation fuels. In addition, methanol fires are extinguished simply and quickly by pouring water on the flame.

Additional information: M-85 is often used in vehicles that have been designed to be "flexible fuel" vehicles. That is, they can run on any combination of gasoline (include pure gasoline) and methanol, up to M-85.

Methanol has about half the energy content of gasoline on a volume basis. The lower energy density implies that at equivalent engine efficiency (miles per Btu), a pure-alcohol-fueled vehicle (M-100) would travel half to two-thirds as far as a gasoline-fueled vehicle using the same size tank. These energy density differences are compensated for somewhat by improvements in efficiency that can be realized in spark ignition engines using alcohols compared with gasoline. M-85 has a slightly higher energy density than M-100, due to the addition of gasoline. It should also be noted that methanol vehicle engines can be difficult to start at low ambient temperatures due to methanol's lower vapor pressure, but the addition of gasoline assists in resolving this problem.

Methanol has been a popular choice as an alternative fuel, for a number of reasons.

Methanol vehicles have less mileage range than their gasoline equivalents, but larger fuel tanks and the ability to use gasoline in fuel-flexible vehicles provide extended range when necessary. Unlike some other alternative fuels, no additional fuel tank is needed for methanol. A mid-size car with a 16-gallon tank can travel 424 highway miles on gasoline and 249-258 miles on methanol (based on 26.5 m.p.g. on gasoline).

When using a M-85 vehicle, the lines, hoses and valves have to be resistant to the corrosion that alcohol can induce. Alcohol corrodes lead-plated fuel tanks; magnesium, copper, lead, zinc, and aluminum parts; and some synthetic gaskets.

There has been another use of methanol in fuel. Methanol is made into an ether, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), which is blended with gasoline to enhance octane and to create oxygenated gasoline. MTBE meets the definition of a replacement fuel, but not of an alternative fuel. It has also been found as a contaminate in groundwater. In response to the groundwater contamination (and the fact that MTBE is long-lived and mobile), California Governor Gray Davis has called for the complete removal of MTBE from California gasoline supplies by December 31, 2002.

It should be noted that auto manufacturers do not consider M-100 a viable alternative fuel, but in the future, methanol may be used as the hydrogen source for hydrogen-powered fuel cells.


What it is: An alcohol fuel. As with methanol, E-85 is the primary ethanol alternative fuel.

How it is produced: In the United States, ethanol is produced mainly by a cooking, fermentation and distillation process using grain crops, with corn being the primary feedstock. Cellulose feedstocks, such as wood and agricultural wastes are considered excellent future candidates for ethanol production.

Environmental Characteristics: Comparable to methanol, when ethanol is used in a flexible fuel vehicle, it has approximately 30-50 fewer smog forming emissions than a gasoline vehicle. Air toxics are also reduced about 50 percent when compared to gasoline. Ethanol also offers significant greenhouse gas benefits, particularly when produced from renewable, high cellulose feedstocks. As with all internal combustion engines, vehicles using ethanol emit minor amounts of aldehydes. This is resolved by installing advanced catalytic converters on the vehicles.

Economics: As noted above, ethanol is produced using corn as the feedstock. As a result, the price of ethanol is closely tied to commodity prices for agricultural crops. In December 1994, the price for wholesale ethanol (E100) was $1.03-$1.30 per gallon (the price includes tax credits). For a current ethanol price, we contacted the Clean Cities Coalition in Kentucky, where ethanol is in widespread use as an alternative fuel. Current retail prices of ethanol there range from $1.15-1.25/gal.

Health & Safety information: The ethanol is denatured, to prevent any misuse from ingestion.

Additional information: The use of ethanol in vehicles is not a new innovation. In the 1880s, Henry Ford built one of his first automobiles to run on ethanol. It is also in use extensively in other countries. More than 4 million cars run on ethanol in Brazil as a result of a government program to make fuel from sugar cane. In the United States, ethanol is used primarily in the Midwest, where excess corn can be distilled into fuel.

Ethanol has about two-thirds of the energy density of gasoline, and has the same limitations as alcohol vehicles. The lower energy density implies that at equivalent engine efficiency (miles per Btu), a pure-alcohol-fueled vehicle would travel half to two-thirds as far as a gasoline-fueled vehicle using the same size tank. These energy density differences are compensated for somewhat by improvements in efficiency that can be realized in spark ignition engines using alcohols compared with gasoline. E-85 has a slightly higher energy densities than neat ethanol because of the addition of gasoline. Pure ethanol can also cause starting problems in cold weather.

The 1999 model year flexible fueled vehicles using E-85 have a driving range of 200-300 miles. The range for these vehicles when using gasoline is 280-400 miles.

As with methanol, ethanol vehicles require lines, hoses and valves have to be resistant to the corrosion that alcohol can induce. Alcohol corrodes lead-plated fuel tanks; magnesium, copper, lead, zinc, and aluminum parts; and some synthetic gaskets.

Electricity - Batteries and Fuel Cells

What it is: Electricity is a type of energy where mechanical power is derived directly from it, as opposed to other alternative fuels, which release stored chemical energy through combustion to provide mechanical power. Electricity in vehicles is commonly provided by rechargeable batteries, but fuel cells are also being explored. Much of the discussion that follows will center on battery powered vehicles, since the use of fuel cells is still in the developmental stage.

How it is produced: In the Pacific Northwest (outside of Alaska), approximately 60% of the electricity produced comes from hydroelectric facilities; the remainder is generated by facilities that run on coal, gas and by one nuclear facility. In electric vehicles, an electric motor draws on batteries to produce vehicular power.

Environmental Characteristics: Although battery-powered electric vehicles are zero-emission vehicles, there are emissions associated with the generation of electricity at the power plant. The emissions associated with the vehicles are determined by fuel in use at the power plant. Fuel cell emissions, using hydrogen as the fuel, are water vapor and heat. Indirect emissions depend on the source of the hydrogen.

Economics: The cost per mile of an electric vehicle depends upon vehicle efficiency and the available electric rates. Recharging an EV at $0.05 per kilowatt hour (kWh) equates to about $0.015 per mile. The cost per mile for fuel cell vehicles is dependent upon the specific fuel used as the source of hydrogen as well as the range of the vehicle.

Battery replacement must also be addressed. After 3-5 years, the constant cycling and use of the batteries wears down their effectiveness. Replacing lead-acid battery packs can cost between $2,000 -$3,000 and up to $15,000 for nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. However, virtually all maintenance costs (such as oil and filter changes, transmission fluid changes, etc.) are eliminated with the use of an electric vehicle.

Health & Safety information: Batteries must be handled carefully during recharging and disposal. For those batteries that use acid in liquid form, you must be aware of possible leaks (although most battery packs are sealed), which may cause chemical burns. Care must also be taken to avoid electric shock; the battery packs store enough energy to produce dangerous or lethal shocks. Electrical circuits are self contained and grounded to limit the risk of shock from the vehicle frame.

Additional information: Batteries are the storage "tanks" for electricity, and the quantity of potential power available from them is given by the battery rating (determined by plate size, quantity of electrolyte, etc.). Fuel cells do not store energy; instead chemical energy is converted into electricity. An external source of hydrogen (for example, from natural gas, gasoline, or one of the alcohol fuels) and oxygen (from air) are fed to the fuel cell. The electrolyte fuel cells employ the electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity.

The weight and number of batteries necessary makes vehicle range limited. Range is also dependent on the type of battery used, driving conditions, terrain, climate, and whether the driving is city or highway driving. Lead acid batteries have been used the longest for powering electric vehicles and typically provide a practical driving range of 40-60 miles. Nickel metal hydride batteries are also being used, and there is research being performed on using sodium sulfur batteries. The range of 1999 model year battery powered vehicles is dependent upon the battery type used. At least one lead-acid battery has a range of up to 72 miles, and nickel-metal-hydride batteries have a range of 96-126 miles. As noted above, for the near term battery-powered electric vehicles are the option that is most likely to be available. Major automotive manufacturers are doing extensive research on fuel cells, and expect fuel cell vehicles to be commercially available by 2004.


What it is: Hydrogen gas (H2)

How it is produced: Hydrogen can be produced from a number of different resources, including natural gas, water, methanol. Two methods are generally used to produce hydrogen: (1) electrolysis and (2) synthesis gas production from steam reforming or partial oxidation.

Environmental Characteristics: When combusted (oxidized), only water vapor is produced. When burned in an internal combustion engine, small amounts of nitrogen oxides and small amounts of unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide are produced, due to the use of engine lubricants.

Economics: The use of hydrogen as a vehicular fuel is still in the research and development stage; a comparative cost is not yet available.

Health & Safety information: Hydrogen is highly flammable, and there is an explosion risk, similar to that of gasoline. Hydrogen is non-toxic. Because of hydrogen's lightness, any fuel leak rapidly disperses with no pooling of vapors. Hydrogen displaces air, so any release in an enclosed space could cause asphyxiation.

Additional information: H2 is being explored for use in both combustion engines and fuel-cell electric vehicles. It is a gas at normal temperatures and pressures, making it more difficult to address transportation and storage issues when compared to liquid fuels. Storage systems being developed include compressed hydrogen, liquid hydrogen, and chemical bonding between hydrogen and a storage material (for example, metal hydrides). Hythane, a combination of 15 percent hydrogen and 85 percent natural gas, is being tested in metal lattice storage systems. While no transportation distribution system currently exists for hydrogen transportation use, the ability to create the fuel from a variety of resources (solar-powered electrolysis is one possibility) and its clean-burning properties make it desirable as an alternative fuel. Hydrogen-powered vehicles, compared to the other alternative fuels discussed, are probably the furthest from commercialization. As a result, it is difficult to compare the performance and fuel range of hydrogen with either gasoline or other alternative fuels.

Hydrogen storage is constrained by container weight and volume. Depending upon whether hydrogen is stored as liquid or a gas, it requires six to eight and six to ten times more storage space than gasoline, respectively.


What it is: Biodiesel is a fuel made primarily from the oils and fats of plants. Although it can be used as a straight replacement to diesel, the blend of biodiesel to diesel can be as low as 20% biodiesel, 80% diesel.

How it is produced: Biodiesel can be produced through a transesterfication process, forming fatty esters. One of the byproducts of production is glycerol, which can then be sold as an independent product.

New research is underway that would use a solid catalyst and remove some of the liquids needed in current production. This process is faster, and yields a higher quality of glycerol.

Environmental Characteristics: The emissions from using biodiesel are much lower than diesel fuel. Biodiesel has no aromatic content and only trace amounts of sulfur. In vehicle tests, it has lower emissions of carbon monoxide, soot, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons than conventional diesel. NOx emissions can be higher, but with adjustments in the injection engine timing, it is possible to reduce the NOx emissions. In addition, particulate emissions are essentially eliminated.

Economics: The cost of biodiesel is dependent on what is used as the feedstock. One source being used is soybeans, but used vegetable oil is also a promising feedstock. There is currently no large-scale production of biodiesel, although there are three to four smaller scale facilities in operation. Information available from the Department of Energy Hybrid Electric Vehicle Program ( indicates that "large-scale commercial use of biodiesel produced using today's technology could reduce biodiesel cost to $0.40 to $0.45/liter ($1.50 to $1.60/gallon)." Current biodiesel prices are approximately $3.50 per gallon.

Health & Safety information: Biodiesel is biodegradable and nontoxic, making it an excellent fuel for marine applications. In addition, biodiesel has a high flash point and it does not produce explosive air/fuel vapors.

Additional information: Using biodiesel as a fuel has been around for some time. It was introduced in South Africa before World War II to power heavy-duty vehicles.

Biodiesel can be used either as an substitute or an additive to diesel fuel. When used as a full substitute, there are no engine modifications to a petroleum diesel engine required. Biodiesel is also a renewable resource that can be produced domestically, reducing American reliance on foreign sources of oil, and increasing the stability of the nation's oil supply.

There are some solvent characteristics of the fuel that may require some hose and fuel line material substitutions. In other areas, biodiesel is essentially the same as conventional diesel, in particular with horsepower, highway fuel mileage, and engine performance.

The information that follows is useful for fleet managers (and others) who are looking for alternatives to petroleum, and are interested in information regarding costs (environmental and economical); where to fill up; what products are available; infrastructure; technical issues; and other topics. The specific areas covered:

  • Fleets & Fleet Management
  • General Alternative Fuel Programs
  • Biodiesel/Biofuel
  • Fuel Cells, Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles, Batteries
  • Natural Gas
  • Alcohol Fuels
  • Propane
  • Alternative Vehicles & the Transportation Sector
  • Other Resources for Information about Alternative Fuels
  • Other Alternative Transportation Options

  • Fleets & Fleet Management
    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable) Clean Cities website, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Transportation Technologies program.
       "Clean Cities is a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy which is designed to encourage the use of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and their supporting infrastructure throughout the nation. … The Clean Cities program takes a unique, voluntary approach to AFV development, working with coalitions of local stakeholders to help develop the AFV industry and integrate this development into larger planning processes."
       A site with a great deal of information.
    U.S. Department of Energy
    Clean Cities Program, EE-34
    1000 Independence Avenue S.W.
    Washington, DC 20585-0121
    Tel: 800-CCITIES (800-224-8437)
    Part of the Clean Cities website, Clean Cities Fleet Information. As noted on website, the information provided is "dedicated to all fleet managers and other people interested in how alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) can be used in fleet applications."
       Found on this site: the "Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Vehicle Fleet Buyer's Guide," ( Fleet managers can use this site to help them learn about and buy alternative fueled vehicles.

    Website for the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition (PSCCC). PSCCC coordinator
    Oregon Office of Energy, information about alternative fuels in fleet vehicles.
       Includes information on available tax credits and loans that are available to fleets.
    Oregon Office of Energy
    625 Marion St. N.E.
    Salem, OR 97310
    Tel: 503-378-4040
       in Oregon, 800-221-8035
    Federal Vehicle Policy Division. This web site provides information on the General Service Administration's coordination of policy efforts to improve the management and enhance the performance of the motor vehicle fleets operated by Federal agencies. Information is also provided on the activities of the Federal Fleet Policy Council (FEDFLEET)  

    General Alternative Fuel Programs
    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable) Website for the Alternative Fuels Data Center. This site is a comprehensive government source for information on alternative fuels.
        One particularly useful document found here is: "Replacement Fuel and Alternative Fuel Vehicle Technical and Policy Analysis: An Overview and Summary of the Technical and Policy Analysis conducted by The Department of Energy in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Section 506 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992." July 1997, United States Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Transportation Technologies. (
        PPRC library resource
    Alternative Fuels Hotline
    (hours: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Eastern Time)
    Tel: (U.S.) 800-423-1363
      International callers: 703-934-3069
      (include name and mailing address)
    Alternative Fuels Data Center Document Search, provided by the Alternative Fuels Data Center. As noted on website:
       "This search system will allow you to search the entire collection of information stored on-line at the Alternative Fuels Data Center. This includes the web pages and documents that we have stored in our databases. These other documents include full articles for which we have obtained reprint permission and citations (with abstracts) to other copyrighted materials. In all cases, if we do not supply you with a link to the web page or actual document, we tell you where you can obtain the document."

    Good, all purpose alternative fuel directory, compiled by a faculty member at Virginia Wesleyan College.
    Province of British Columbia, Clean Vehicles and Fuels for British Columbia Program, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
       PPRC library resource

    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable)
    Website for the U.S. DOE National Biofuels Program. This program seeks to cost-effectively produce ethanol and other fuels and chemicals from biomass resources such as agricultural and forestry residues or fast-growing trees and grasses.
       This site has information about bioethanol and biodiesel, and links to programs that to specific biofuels programs.

    Biodiesel/Biofuels Research at the University of Missouri
    Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA), Biodiesel Information Centre Terry Boland
    Public Affairs Advisor
    Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA)
    90 Woodlawn Road West
    Guelph, ON N1H 1B2
    Tel: 519-767-0431
    Fax: 519-837-1674
    bioindex.html Website for the National Biodiesel Board, a "not-for-profit corporation created and based in Jefferson City, Missouri, dedicated to the commercialization and industrialization of biodiesel. Biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester-based oxygenated fuels from renewable biological sources. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines without any modifications. Pure biodiesel is biodegradable, nontoxic and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics." National Biodiesel Board
    1907 Williams Street
    P.O. Box 104898
    Jefferson City, MO 65110
    Tel: 573-635-3893
    Fax: 573-635-7913
    Another group interested in Biodiesels. "The goal of DEEP [Diesel Emissions Evaluation Program] is to reduce miners' exposure to diesel exhaust pollutants by systematically testing and evaluating control strategies to reduce diesel emissions at specific mine sites."
    This site highlights the research that has been completed by the University of Idaho, and provides some other resources about biodiesel, such as a publications list and specific project information.  
    "Biofuels for Transportation.
    The Road from Research to
    the Marketplace," National
    Renewable Energy Laboratory,
    revised January 1995.
    A summary of programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
       PPRC library resource
    Noni Strawn or Norman Ninman
    Biofuels Information Center
    National Renewable Energy
    1617 Cole Boulevard
    Golden, CO 80401-3393
    Tel: 303-275-4347 or 303-275-4481

    Fuel Cells, Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles, Batteries
    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable) Website for the Electric Vehicle Association of the Americas. Tel: 800-537-2882 Webpage for the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association, a chapter of the EVA. Steven Lough
    DOE's Hybrid Vehicle Propulsion Program On-line Resource Center. This site has quite a bit of information about HEVs – hybrid vehicles with two sources of energy to improve fuel efficiency. Website for Fuel Cells 2000, an activity of Breakthrough Technologies Institute (BTI). BTI is "a non-profit organization formed to promote the development and early commercialization of fuel cells and related pollution-free, efficient energy generation, storage and utilization technologies and fuels."
       Provides overview/introduction to fuel cells. Also found on this site is, a "mini-site" on fuel cells in transportation. Although it is not a comprehensive look at fuel cells in transportation, it does give a good overview of what's happening in the transportation sector.
    Fuel Cells 2000
    1625 K Street NW, Suite 790
    Washington, DC 20006
    Tel: 202-785-4222
    Fax: 202-785-4313
    A project of Power & Propulsion Office, NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. This site has an overview of a Hybrid Turbine-Electric Transit Bus, being studied/evaluated by the NASA Lewis Research Center, industry, universities, and Government. Dr. Larry A. Viterna Automotive Systems & Technology, Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research site, by the Idaho National Engineering & Environmental Laboratory (INEEL).
       Contains loads of links and information about electric and hybrid vehicles. Areas covered: Field Operations Program, Energy Storage and Conversion, Modeling and Simulation, Dynamic Vehicle Testing, and References to Recent Publications.
 Website for the Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Letter, the "voice of the international hydrogen and fuel cell communities, covering events and developments in this emerging field as they occur."
       A monthly newsletter; the cover story every month is available on the website.
    Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Letter
    Peter Hoffmann
    Editor & Publisher
    Grinnell Street
    P.O. Box 14
    Rhinecliff, NY 12574-0014
    Tel: 914-876-5988
    Fax: 914-876-7599
    Ogden, Joan M., "Hydrogen:
    A Low-Polluting Energy
    Carrier for the Next Century,"
    Pollution Prevention Review,
    Autumn 1998.
    Comprehensive overview of hydrogen and its potential use as a fuel for fuel cells. Includes an analysis of a hydrogen energy supply system, environmental and safety considerations, and economics.
       PPRC library resource
    Article Reprint Queries &
      Orders, North, Central,
      & South America:
    Jackie Lynch
    John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    605 Third Avenue
    New York, NY 10158
    Tel: 212-850-8789
    Fax: 212-850-6021

    Outside the USA
    Advertisement Sales Department
    Bob Kern or Nicky Douglas
    John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    Baffins Lane, Chichester
    West Sussex, PO19 1UD, UK
    Tel: +44 (0)1243 770350 or 770367
    Fax: +44 (0)1243 770432
    Batteries Included: Electric Vehicles Charge Ahead, A Special Report from, February 2002 This section takes a close look at the electric vehicle by examining the forces that have brought it to market, what the vehicles have to offer and what lies on the horizon for electric cars and other alternative-fuel vehicles.
    March 1998 publication from INFORM, Inc., "Gearing Up for Hydrogen: America's Road to Sustainable Transportation." This document provides a summary of hydrogen's potential as a fuel for vehicles.
       Available as an Adobe Acrobat file.
       PPRC library resource
    INFORM, Inc.
    120 Wall Street
    New York, NY 10005-4001
    Tel: 212-361-2400
    Fax: 212-361-2415
    1996 document "Four-Year
    Report on Battery-Electric
    Transit Vehicle Operation at
    The Santa Barbara Metropolitan
    Transit District."
    Evaluation of transit using batteries. For complete copy of report:
    The National Technical
       Information Service (NTIS)
    5285 Port Royal Road
    Springfield, VA 22161
    Tel: 703-487-4650.
    Fact Sheet from EPA's Office of Mobile Sources, "Electric Vehicles," EPA 400-F-92-012, August 1994, Fact Sheet OMS-10
       General description of electric vehicles; please note that some of the information about the phasing in of zero-emission vehicles in California is outdated (the time lines have been extended).
    EPA National Vehicle and Fuel
      Emissions Laboratory
    2565 Plymouth Road
    Ann Arbor, MI 48105
    Tel: 734-214-4333 Vendor website - the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Company. As noted on website (page "about nevs"), "A Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) is a small, enclosed, one or two passenger vehicle powered by rechargeable batteries and an electric motor. These vehicles are designed to be used within a city environment to run errands, commute to work or school, and to make small, local deliveries." Neighborhood Electric Vehicle
    435 Lincoln Street
    Eugene, OR 97401
    Tel: 541-687-5939
    Vendor website - American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
    Honda claims they have "the cleanest internal combustion engine in the world, with trace level emissions and 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Their car is readily available in the marketplace.
    Honda AFV Sales and Marketing
    1919 Torrance Blvd.
    Torrance, CA 90501
    Tel: 310-781-4450
    or: 1-888-CC-Honda Vendor website - Solectria Corporation. Manufacturer of electric vehicles, with extensive experience in the EV field. Solectria Corporation
    33 Industrial Way
    Wilmington, MA 01887
    Tel: 978-658-2231
    Fax: 978-658-3224 Vendor website - Electric Fuel Corporation. As noted in the company information page:
       "The company is engaged in the design, development and commercialization of its proprietary Zinc-Air battery technology for electric vehicles, portable electronic devices, and defense applications."
    Electric Fuel Corporation
    885 Third Avenue, Suite 2900
    New York, NY 10222
    Tel: 212-829-5536
    Fax: 212-829-5505

    Natural Gas
    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable) Website with natural gas vehicle information, "the most comprehensive site for Natural Gas Vehicle information on the world wide web." Website for the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. As noted on the "About NGVC" webpage ( "The NGVC is a national organization dedicated to the development of a growing, sustainable and profitable natural gas vehicle market. The NGVC represents more than 180 natural gas companies; engine, vehicle and equipment manufacturers; and service providers, as well as environmental groups and government organizations interested in the promotion and use of natural gas as a transportation fuel." Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition
    1515 Wilson Boulevard
    Arlington, VA 22209
    Tel: 703-527-3022
    Fax: 703-527-3025
    January 14, 1999 AmeriScan (
    "Cleaner Cars Working at LAX." An article about vehicles using compressed natural gas at Los Angeles International Airport.
       Note: you'll have to scroll down the page to get to the article.

    Case study from Rogue Valley, OR. The conversion of the bus fleet to CNG.
       Provides overview of how the conversion was addressed, including financing, fueling, maintenance and fuel costs.
    Oregon Office of Energy
    625 Marion St. N.E.
    Salem, OR 97310
    Tel: 503-378-4040
      in Oregon, 800-221-8035
    Vendor site. October 1998 Fact Sheet for Liquefied Natural Gas.
    Vendor website - American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
    Honda makes a natural gas powered Honda Civic
    Honda AFV Sales and Marketing
    1919 Torrance Blvd.
    Torrance, CA 90501
    Tel: 310-781-4450
    or: 1-888-CC-Honda

    Alcohol Fuels
    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable) United State Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), "the national trade association for the domestic ethanol industry." Renewable Fuels Association
    One Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 820
    Washington, D.C. 20001
    Tel: 202-289-3835
    Fax: 202-289-7519 Website for the American Methanol Institute, the trade association for the methanol industry. Information includes links to methanol, reformulated gasolines, alternative fuel and fuel cell vehicles. American Methanol Institute
    800 Connecticut Avenue NW
    Suite 620
    Washington, DC 20006
    Tel: 202-467-5050
    Fax: 202-331-9055

    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable)
    Case study from the Portland School District, which began converting its fleet of school buses to propane in 1983, and stipulated that its bus contractor do the same.
       Provides overview of how the conversion was addressed, including savings, a comparison of gasoline and propane costs, maintenance and fueling, and safety.
    Oregon Office of Energy
    625 Marion St. N.E.
    Salem, OR 97310
    Tel: 503-378-4040
      in Oregon, 800-221-8035 National Propane Gas Association
       An industry trade association to promote the use of propane gas as a source of energy.
    Not Applicable Propane Vehicle Council
       The Propane Vehicle Council was established in early 1994 to advance propane's future as a clean, safe and superior performing alternative transportation fuel.
    The Council brings together and leads industry efforts to develop a strong U.S. market for propane. Through aggressive lobbying and public relations efforts, it works to remove legislative and regulatory barriers and increases awareness of propane's advantages as a transportation fuel among government officials, the auto industry and consumers.
    Propane Vehicle Council
    Joseph L. Colaneri, Executive Director
    1130 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 700
    Washington, DC 20036
    (202) 530-0479
    Fax: (202) 223-0479

    Alternative Vehicles & the Transportation Sector
    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable)
    Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) site about hypercars. RMI is a nonprofit research and educational foundation, whose mission is to foster the efficient and sustainable use of resources as a path to global security. Hypercars are a systems approach to efficiency and safety, combining advanced materials, aerodynamic design and clean drive systems.
       Further information about hypercars can be found at
    Rocky Mountain Institute
    1739 Snowmass Creek Road
    Snowmass, CO 81654-9199
    Tel: 970-927-3851
    Fax: 970-927-3420
    Document listing from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), concerning the transportation sector.
       Example of one document with good information: "Alternatives to Traditional Transportation Fuels: An Overview," DOE/EIA-0585/O, June 1994, Energy Information Administration, Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels; U.S. Department of Energy. (This document can be downloaded as an Adobe Acrobat file.)
       PPRC library resource
    Laura C. Gehlin
    Tel: 202-586-1123
    Fax: 202-586-3045 Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN) information about alternative fuels. Includes definition of alternative fuels as well as links for more information.  
    Sperling, D., and Shaheen, S. A., eds., "Transportation and Energy: Strategies for a Sustainable Transportation System," American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 1995. Part III of the book deals with Energy and Vehicle Alternatives. (The chapter on hypercars is particularly interesting.) Titles of chapters/papers: Chapter 5: "Hypercars: The Next Industrial Revolution;" "Alternative Fuels and Greenhouse Gas Emission Policy;" "Emission Reductions of Alternative-Fuel Vehicles: Implications for Vehicle and Fuel Price Subsidies;" & "A Social Cost Analysis of Alternative Fuels for Light Vehicles."
       An article on hypercars with much the same information as this chapter can be found in the January 1995 Atlantic Monthly, "Reinventing the Wheels," by Amory B. Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins. It can be found at
       PPRC library resource

    Other Resources for Information about Alternative Fuels
    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable)
    EPA website with a guide to vehicle fuel efficiency. Hardcopies of guides:
    National Alternative Fuels
    Tel: 800-423-1363
    Energy Efficiency and
      Renewable Energy
    PO Box 3048
    Merrifield, VA 22116
    Tel: 800-363-3732 Website for WestStart - CALSTART, a "unique and dynamic organization that helps advanced transportation technologies move forward into the marketplace."
       This organization compiles the latest information about electric, natural gas, and hybrid electric vehicles, as well as transportation technologies.
 Website for the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC). As noted on the website, NAFTC's purpose "is to foster a clean environment for the benefit of all people through education, training and research dealing with advanced fuels and engine systems."
       NAFTC facilitates the development of qualified people to install, service, repair and test systems and components operating with alternative fuels. NAFTC also focuses on increasing consumer awareness regarding the use of alternative fuels and the availability of training.
    Portland Training Center: Portalnd Community College
    Jeff Triplet
    Sylvania Campus
    1200 SW 49, PO Box 19000
    Portland, OR 97219
    Tel: 503-977-8033 Website for Electrifying Times, "the International Magazine of Electric Vehicles (EV's) Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV's), Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV's), Battery and Advanced Battery Technology, Alternate Fuel Vehicles, Electric Car Races, Rallys, and Expositions."
       Online edition of a subscription journal. There is quite a bit of information available on the site.
    Electrifying Times
    63600 Deschutes Market Road
    Bend, OR 97701
    Tel: 541-388-1908
    Fax: 541-388-2750
    Newsletter, "The Clean Fuels and Electric Vehicle Report" provides coverage of business, government and technology Issues for transportation fuels and electric vehicles.
       The Table of Content button provides links to articles available on the website.
    Energy Futures Inc.
    PO Box 4367
    Boulder, CO 80306
    Tel: 303-541-0185
    Fax: 303-541-0186
    EPA Transportation Air Quality Center (TRAQ) Center. As noted on the website, TRAQ "provides state and local air quality regulators and transportation planners with access to critical information regarding transportation programs and mobile source incentive-based programs, partnership opportunities, grant funding sources, useful contact names, and technical assistance."
    A listing of tables providing information of alternative-fueled vehicle (AFV) data for 1997 and 1998. Also available are EIA's first estimates for 1999.
       Examples of tables/data listed: "Table 2. Estimated Number of Alternative-Fueled Vehicles in Use in the United States, by Fuel and Census Region, 1997 - 1999;" Table 8. Estimated Number of Alternative-Fueled Vehicles in Use by State and Local Governments, by Fuel and Weight Category, 1995, 1997, and 1999."
    Mary Joyce
    Tel: 202-426-1168
    Information from the Union of Concerned Scientists, about advanced vehicles and alternative fuels. To find information, click on advanced vehicles link. Union of Concerned Scientists
    2 Brattle Square
    Cambridge, MA 02238-9105
    Tel: 617-547-5552
    Sustainable transportation publications listing from INFORM, Inc. There are a number of reports other than the recent "Gearing up for Hydrogen" listed above. INFORM, Inc.
    120 Wall Street
    New York, NY 10005-4001
    Tel: 212-361-2400
    Fax: 212-361-2415
    Fact Sheet from EPA's Office of Mobile Sources, "Automobile Emissions: An Overview," EPA 400-F-92-007, August 1994, Fact Sheet OMS-5. The Office of Mobile Sources is the national center for research and policy on air pollution from highway and off-highway motor vehicles and equipment.
       Identifies emission sources in automobiles. A good summary primer about the benefit of alternative fuels for the environment, compared to gasoline.
    EPA National Vehicle and
      Fuel Emissions Laboratory
    2565 Plymouth Road
    Ann Arbor, MI 48105
    Tel: 734-214-4333
    Atlantic Monthly article from April 1996: "Mideast Oil Forever?," by Joseph J. Romm and Charles B. Curtis.
       Provides an outline of American dependence on foreign oil sources and what can be done about it.
    U.S. General Accounting Office, "Alternative Fuels - Experiences of Brazil, Canada, and New Zealand in Using Alternative Motor Fuels," GAO/RCED-92-119, May 1992. Case study of alternative fuel use in other countries. Provides a good overview of other countries' programs.
       PPRC library resource

    Other Alternative Transportation Options
    Resource Listing
    Description and Comments
    Contact (if applicable) Website for the Greater Redmond (WA) Transportation Management Association (TMA). As noted on the website, TMA is "directed and funded by many of Washington State's largest and most influential employers and commercial developers, our mission is to develop and market transportation options to employees in the greater Redmond area."
       Commute Trip Reduction site.
    Donna Ambrose
    Executive Director
    Greater Redmond TMA
    15503 N.E. 90th Street
    Redmond, WA 98052 Website for Flexcar (a carsharing program in Portland). Members of a car sharing organization, who pay a fee to join, have access to a fleet of vehicles parked within walking distance of members' homes. Cars are available on a reservation basis to members, who pay hourly and mileage charges that cover all operating costs, including insurance and maintenance. Flexcar
    Mailing Address:
      620 SW Main, Suite 228
      Portland, OR 97205
    Tel: 503-328-FLEX or 360-823-FLEX (3539)
    Fax: 503-241-3076
    Website for car sharing in Seattle, a joint program of King County Metro and the City of Seattle. Seattle Car Sharing Project
    Tel: 206-624-7717
    Website for Transportation Choices Coalition, a "non-profit organization of groups advocating for transportation alternatives" in Puget Sound. Transportation Choices Coalition
    1600 Dexter Ave N. Suite B
    Seattle, WA 98109
    Mailing address:
      Transportation Choices Coalition
      PO Box 131
      Seattle, WA 98111-0131
    Tel: 206-298-9338
    Fax: 206-298-9304
    PPRC Fall 1998 Newsletter on transportation issues. This link is to specific discussions about alternative fuels. Pacific Northwest Pollution
      Prevention Resource Center
    1326 5th Avenue
    Suite 650
    Seattle, WA 98101
    Tel: 206-352-2050
    Fax: 206-352-2049 Website for the National Station Car Association's web information pages. As noted on "The Station Car Concept" web page, "The station car concept is an exciting new form of mobility. Station cars are electric vehicles (EVs) driven to and from mass transit stations by transit riders. They are an extension of mass transit, providing the same instant--yet more convenient--mobility as conventional vehicles."
       Currently doing a test project in the San Francisco Bay Area. This resource is a mix of an alternative vehicle and EV. 1,000 Friends of Oregon. Website summarizing their work to prevent the building of a large freeway in suburban Portland. The story here looks at the Land Use, Transportation and Air Quality Connection (LUTRAQ). LUTRAQ has won national planning awards, based upon its work. Click on LUTRAQ link. 1000 Friends of Oregon
    534 SW Third Avenue
    Suite 300
    Portland, OR 97204
    Tel: 503-497-1000
    Provides an overview of available Electric Bikes and Power Systems. Vendor website - Electric Vehicles Northwest, Inc. Pacific Northwest company which "specializes in ultra light, energy efficient, electric transportation." Electric Vehicles Northwest, Inc.
    306 S. Michigan
    Seattle, WA 98108
    Tel: 206-762-4404
    Fax: 206-634-0263 Vendor website - Zap Power Systems, "the leading manufacturer of electric bicycles, scooters and other Zero Air Pollution vehicles." ZAP
    One ZAP Drive
    117 Morris Street
    Sebastopol, CA 95472
    Tel: 707-824-4150
    Fax: 707-824-4159 Vendor website - The Slipstream Electric Bicycle. Bill Gerosa
    The Electric Bicycle Project
    134 Palmer Avenue
    Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591-1616
    Tel: 212-559-4034
    Electric and Hybrid Motorcycles Motorcycle City, Inc.
    Sterret, AL 35147
    Vendor website - Electric Transportation Company (ETC). ETC makes a battery pack that can be used on any bike to make it an electric bike, as well as a foldable electric bike. Note: in 2004, ETC was purchased by ZAP. ETC
    1486 East Valley Road
    Santa Barbara, CA 93108
    Tel: 805-969-1767
    Fax: 805-969-6867

    The information provided in this report is current as of May 1999; information about the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) was added in August 1999.

     1: Resources used to compile the information on alternative fuels include:

    Biofuels for Transportation. The Road from Research to the Marketplace," National Renewable Energy Laboratory, revised January 1995. Fact Sheets: "Methanol from Biomass," & "Ethanol from Biomass."

    The Promise of Methanol Fuel Cell Vehicles," prepared for the American Methanol Institute by Gregory P. Nowell, State University of New York at Albany, downloaded from website ( March 1999.

    California Energy Commission, Alternative Fuel Vehicles website,

    Department of Energy (DOE) Hybrid Vehicle Propulsion Program On-line Resource Center, information about Hybrid Electric Vehicle Program - Components, Biodiesel, found at

    Energy Information Administration, Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels, U.S. Department of Energy, "Summary of the Technical and Policy Analysis conducted by The Department of Energy in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Section 506 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992," July 1997. DOE/EIA-0585/O

    Energy Information Administration, Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate Fuels, U.S. Department of Energy; "Alternatives to Traditional Transportation Fuels: An Overview," June 1994. DOE/EIA-0585/O. Found at

    Energy Information Administration, Office of Energy Markets and End Use, Department of Energy, "Describing Current and Potential Markets for Alternative-Fuel Vehicles," March 1996. DOE/EIA-0604

    National Alternative Fuels Hotline, "Frequently Asked Questions about Alternative Fuels," September, 1998.

    Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, "NGV Facts & Stats,"; "Questions and Answers About Natural Gas Vehicles,"

    Natural Resources Canada, Alternative Transportation Fuels (ATF) program, information on hydrogen, found on

    U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, FreedomCar & Vehicles Technology Program, "About EPAct,"

    Office of Mobile Sources, Environmental Protection Agency, "Air Toxics from Motor Vehicles," August 1994. EPA 400-F-92-004, Fact Sheet OMS-2. Found at the website

    United States Environmental Protection Agency, Oil Spill Program website,

    Our thanks to the following people for their generous assistance:
    Roxanne Dempsey, U.S. Department of Energy
    Charley Donovan, U.S. EPA Region 10
    Chuck Dougherty, Puget Sound Energy
    Carolyn Gangmark, U.S. EPA Region 10
    Kim Lyons, Washington State University Energy Program
    John Labadie, Seattle Public Utilities
    Curt Nichols, Portland Energy Office