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Guide to Alternative Fuels


With the increase of the price of oil, many motorists are seriously thinking about using alternative fuels. An alternative fuel is any fuel other than conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel.

There are several different types of alternative fuels, and they are biodiesel, compressed natural gas, batteries, fuel cells, bioalcohol, and biomass. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that is made of oil extracts that come from plant products, such as soybeans and peanuts, or animal fats. It does not contain sulphur and carcinogenic benzene, and therefore, it is not detrimental to human health and the environment when it comes out of the exhaust system. Compressed natural gas is a kind of fuel that is usually used for cooking, heating, and cooling. Because it is clean-burning and affordable, it is widely used by commercial vehicles such as taxis and public buses. Batteries and fuel cells produce electricity to power vehicles, such as electric cars and fuel-cell cars. Some of the hybrid cars that are being used today are partly electric. Bioalcohol fuels come in two forms, namely, ethanol and methanol, and they are clean-burning. These fuels have high octane ratings, and they can be blended with gasoline. Biomass is also known as woodgas, and it is made from wood or agricultural byproducts. It was used as a form of fuel for certain vehicles during World War 2, and researchers are currently finding ways for it to be used as an alternative fuel for normal vehicles.

Alternative fuels have become increasingly popular in recent years. According to reports, about 1.8 million vehicles that run on alternative fuels were sold in the US in 2007. One of the main reasons for the increase in demand for alternative fuels is the rising cost of conventional fuels. It is predicted that the supply of oil will exceed demand in the future, and this will not only lead to an increase in oil prices, but there will come a time when oil supply will be completely depleted. Another factor that makes alternative fuel a better fuel option for the modern times is environmental concerns. The burning of gasoline and diesel will result in an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, which will worsen global warming. Also, since most of the oil reserves of the world are located in the Middle East, the shortage of oil may bring about political conflict, which can lead to war.

Alternative fuels are more affordable than conventional fuels. As such, motorists do not have to worry about the rise of oil prices in the future. Furthermore, if oil supply should run out in the future, alternative fuels can serve as the primary form of fuel to power vehicles. Because alternative fuels are clean-burning, they are not detrimental to the environment. This will slow down the global warming process that is threatening the world. Another advantage that alternative fuels have over conventional fuels is that they can be produced in the US. This helps to lessen dependency on imported oil, which will also resolve the conflict between the US and the Middle East.

Some of the hybrid cars that are available nowadays are cars that run partly on alternative fuel. For example, the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight can run on both gasoline and electricity. In 2003, Volkswagen produced a car that can run partly on ethanol. The Volkswagen Gol 1.6 Total Flex can use a mixture of ethanol and gasoline, and it was the first flexible fuel car for commercial use in Brazil. The US also has its own version of flexible fuel car. The 1996 Ford Taurus was designed to be able to run on a mixture of ethanol or methanol and gasoline. Many buses and taxis in various parts of the world use compressed natural gas. There are also cars that run on hydrogen, and these include the BMW Clean Energy, Honda Clarity, and others.

Nowadays, even trucks come in flexible-fuel versions. Some of these are the Chevrolet 1500 Silverado Classic, Dodge Ram 1500, Ford F-150, and the GMC 1500 Sierra. These vehicles can use E85 or gasoline, or a combination of the two. The economy of the fuel is dependent on the fuel ratio, and the cost of ethanol is quite different from one region to another. Most flexible fuel trucks are capable of delivering good power. For example, the Chevrolet Silverado features a 4.3L V6 engine that has a horsepower of 195, and it has a stylish design and great truck accessories that make it a very sought after truck.

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