Alternative fueling stations are located throughout the United States and their availability is growing. Learn more about alternative fueling stations by state here.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator makes it easy to find stations for a variety of fueling and charging types, including biodiesel, compressed natural gas, electric vehicle charging (multiple types), hydrogen, liquefied natural gas, ethanol, hydrogen, liquefied petroleum gas (propane).
The Alternative Fueling Station Locator app can also be found in the Google Play store.
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Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel that can be manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant grease. It is a cleaner-burning replacement for petroleum diesel fuel.
Biodiesel is a liquid fuel often referred to as B100 or neat biodiesel in its pure, unblended form. Like petroleum diesel, biodiesel is used to fuel compression-ignition engines, which run on petroleum diesel.
How well biodiesel performs in cold weather depends on the blend of biodiesel. The smaller the percentage of biodiesel in the blend, the better it performs in cold temperatures. Regular No. 2 diesel and B5 perform about the same in cold weather. Both biodiesel and No. 2 diesel have some compounds that crystalize in very cold temperatures.
Electricity can be used to power all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles directly from the power grid. Vehicles running on electricity produce no tailpipe emissions. The only emissions that can be attributed to electric vehicles are those generated in the production process at the power plant. The electric grid is an easily accessible driving energy.
Electricity used to power vehicles is generally provided by the electricity grid and stored in the vehicle’s batteries. Fuel cells are being explored as a way to use electricity generated on board the vehicle to power electric motors. Unlike batteries, fuel cells convert chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity. Home recharging of electric vehicles (EVs) is as simple as plugging them into an electric outlet. Electricity fueling costs for electric vehicles are reasonable compared to gasoline, especially if consumers take advantage of off-peak rates.
Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from corn and various other plant materials collectively known as “biomass”. The use of ethanol is widespread, with more than 95 percent of U.S. gasoline containing ethanol in a low-level blend to oxygenate the fuel and reduce air pollution.
Ethanol is also available as E85, a high-level ethanol blend containing 51 percent to 83 percent ethanol, depending on geography and season. The blend can be used in flexible fuel vehicles which have an internal combustion engine and run on either E85 or gasoline. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there are more than 8 million FFVs on U.S. roads today. However, many flex fuel vehicle owners don’t realize their car is an FFV and that they have a choice of fuels.
Hydrogen (H2) is a potentially emission-free alternative fuel that can be produced using domestic resources. Although not widely used as a transportation fuel, government and industry researchers are working on the advancement of clean economical and safe hydrogen production and fuel-cell electric vehicles.
Hydrogen is locked up in enormous quantities in water (H2O), hydrocarbons (such as methane, CH4) and other organic matter. Efficiently producing hydrogen from these compounds is one of the challenges of using hydrogen as a fuel.
Natural gas is a domestically produced alternative fuel that is readily available to end-users through the utility infrastructure. It can produce significantly fewer harmful emissions than gasoline or diesel when used in natural gas vehicles.
Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons, predominantly methane (CH4). As delivered through the pipeline system, it also contains hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane and other gases such as nitrogen, helium, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and water vapor.
Propane, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or LP-gas) or autogas, has been used worldwide as a vehicle fuel for decades. Stored under pressure inside a tank, propane turns into a colorless, odorless liquid. As pressure is released, the liquid propane vaporizes and turns into gas that is used for combustion. An odorant, ethyl mercaptan, is added for leak detection.
Propane has a high octane rating and excellent properties for spark-ignited internal combustion engines. Propane is produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It accounts for about 2 percent of the energy used in the U.S. Uses include home and water heating, cooking and refrigerating food, clothes drying, powering farm and industrial equipment and drying corn.