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Alternative Fuel Resources (General)


Alternative fuels for motor vehicles have different costs and benefits in different regions. Some fuel types may be more or less attractive and suitable given regional differnces and vehicle fleet duty cycles.

General information resources can help public and private fleets begin to understand these relative advantages of alternative fuel types and to begin to identify the most attractive options to pursue further.

Links for more info on alternative transportation fuels:



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Electric vehicles draw electricity directly from the grid and other off-board electrical power sources and store it in batteries to power an electric motor rather than a combustion engine. Using electricity to power vehicles can have significant energy security and emissions benefits.

Full battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PEVs) are proliferating rapidly in California, with over 120,000 PEVs currently on the roads in the state. More than 47,000 PEVs were sold in California in 2014, up by 30% from 2013. The sales are moving toward a state goal of 1.5 million PEVs in California by 2025.

Links for more info:


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Hydrogen, when used in a fuel cell, is an emissions-free alternative fuel that can be produced from diverse domestic energy sources. Research and commercial efforts are under way to build the hydrogen fueling infrastructure and produce hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that are practical for widespread use.

Links for more info:



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Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from corn and other plant materials. The use of ethanol is widespread — almost all gasoline in the U.S. contains some ethanol. Ethanol is available as E85 — a high-level ethanol blend containing 51%-83% ethanol depending on season and geography — for use in flexible fuel vehicles. E15 is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as a blend of 10%-15% ethanol with gasoline. It is an approved ethanol blend for model year vehicles 2001 and newer.

For more information:



Biodiesel is a domestically produced, renewable fuel that can be manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease for use in diesel vehicles. Biodiesel's physical properties are similar to those of petroleum diesel, but it is a cleaner-burning alternative. Using biodiesel in place of petroleum diesel, especially in older vehicles, can reduce emissions.

For more information:

Natural Gas

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Natural gas is a relatively clean burning fuel that can be either fossil or biological in origin. Natural gas can be stored as a compressed gas in vehicle tanks and burned in combustion engines with reduced overall emissions compared with gasoline and diesel. Natural gas is particularly being used in urban buses and other medium and heavy-duty vehicles with appropriate duty cycles.

California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition

Note: Text and graphics for this page adapted in part from U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center