As sources of fuel become scarcer with each passing day governments and their top scientists are increasingly turning to alternative forms of fuel as a possible solution to the impending shortage. Alternative fuel sources aren’t new – in fact some of the very first automobiles were steam powered and only required water to run not gasoline. These vehicles had plenty of problems and that’s why they were replaced by more efficient models driven by internal combustion engines. Today our technology is a lot better than it was when the first cars hit the roads in the late 1890’s and that’s made the hunt for alternative fuel sources a lot more viable. There are three types of fuel that are leading the pack and we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of each one.
Ethanol Based Fuels
Ethanol is a plant based alternative fuel that can be made from several different crops such as wheat and corn. Typically the fuel is mixed with gasoline so it’s not a zero emission option, but it is a much cleaner alternative to standard gasoline. It’s also made from renewable resources so that’s a definite plus. The problem with ethanol is that it also happens to be made from food sources putting strain on the planets already limited supply. The U.S. Department of Energy has a ton of resources on the features and benefits of ethanol as a fuel source and you can read more about it by clicking this link.
Natural Gas as a Fuel Alternative
Another alternative to regular gasoline is natural gas. This is a clean burning fuel that does a lot less damage to the natural environment than gasoline and it is a readily available fuel source. In fact, depending on where you live there’s a good chance that your home is heated by natural gas. It all sounds great right so why do we see so few natural gas fueled cars on the road? Well unfortunately natural gas does have one major drawback – it emits more than 20 times the methane of standard gasoline making it a major contributor towards global warming. It is a popular choice for the trucking industry and they explain why on the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance website.
Zero Emission Electricity
The holy grail of alternative fuel sources is electricity. Cars that run on electricity produce zero harmful emissions for the environment – in fact the only by product from their hydro cell engines is a little bit of water. All of the major car companies are currently working on perfecting the technology that drives these cars and they’re making steady improvements all the time. The leader in the field though is an upstart company that most of us have probably heard of by now called Tesla. Their cars have much greater range than their competitors and they are gradually changing the way people view electric car technology.
There are two main reasons that most consumers haven’t taken the plunged and switched over to electric yet price and range. Electric vehicles are typically very expensive leaving them out of the reach of most consumers at the moment. As stated the other big problem is their range which doesn’t come close to that offered from gasoline powered cars – not to mention that refueling stations are difficult to find as well. We’re not there yet, but in the near future almost all of our vehicles will likely be powered by electricity.