Lifestyle Design

Alternative Fuels

Right now in the United States, there is a huge push for people to use alternative fuels as opposed to gasoline.  There are many reasons for this push.  Generally, it’s because alternative fuels are kinder to the environment and can help to combat the ever-growing problem of global warming.

The price of driving a car is rising at an alarming rate.  It has become very expensive to drive a car, so people are looking out for ways to save money on their fuel.  Scientists are developing alternative fuels that can help not only the environment, but also the consumer’s checkbook.  The new alternative fuels offer advantages in so many ways that people are really starting to take a look at these as an option over paying astronomical gasoline prices.

When consumers use alternative fuels both to gas up their car as well as heat and cool their homes, they are helping the environment as well as helping themselves.

In the simplest form, an alternative fuel is one that is not produced by using crude oil.  They are simply fuels that replace conventional gasoline as a means of powering vehicles.

Alternative fuels have desirable energy efficiency and pollution reduction features. The 1990 Clean Air Act encourages development and sale of alternative fuels.

There are many different kinds of alternative fuels – the most prominent one as well as the one that has been around the longest is ethanol.  Ethanol is made from corn which is a great help to our farmers as well as to consumers and the environment.  Ethanol is sometimes called grain alcohol.  It can also be made from organic materials including agricultural crops and waste, plant material left from logging, and trash including paper.

The alcohol found in alcoholic beverages is ethanol. However, the ethanol used for motor fuel is denatured, which means poison has been added so people can’t drink it. Some people believe that producing ethanol takes more energy than it gives back and for the most part, this is true.  However, technologies have evolved in such a way that it is possible to increase the efficiency of producing ethanol.

The growing trend toward alternative fuels will grow as we become more and more conscious of how we are damaging our environment through our habits and products we use.  New alternative fuels are being developed all the time and having a choice will certainly be a nice alternative itself.

Alternative Fuels Expansion

The expansion of the alternative fuel business has its advantages as alternative fuels burn cleaner and have less of an effect on the environment.

In fact, beginning in 1998, the Ford Motor Company committed $1 billion toward the expansion of their alternative fuel vehicle production lines.

In addition, the proliferation of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles is driving demand for new kinds of technician training. Considerable market expansion has occurred in CNG, propane, ethanol, and biodiesel, with more modest advances in battery-electric power.  The expansion in this area of alternative fuel requires new training when it comes to making repairs to vehicles that run on alternative fuels.

Even gas stations are starting to find out that they also have to take part in the expansion of the market when it comes to alternative fuels.  As more people start to purchase alternative fuel vehicles, they are also demanding easy accessibility to the fuels that run them.  In order to meet the demand for alternative fuels, expansion of gas station facilities is nearly a requirement these days.

There’s no doubt about it that the expansion of the alternative fuel market affects all kinds of people and businesses.  The good news is that it is affecting them in a GOOD way!  Expansion is always good for business, and when it comes to alternative fuels, it’s good for the environment and the consumer as well.  I say, let the expansion continue!

Types of Alternative Fuels

Another type of alternative fuel is methanol, a cousin of ethanol as they are both alcohol based products.  Methanol is sometimes called wood alcohol and can be made from various biomass resources like wood, as well as from coal. However, today nearly all methanol is made from natural gas, or methane, because it is cheaper.

Propane, or compressed natural gas has long been used to provide energy to homes, but it is rising in popularity as a type of alternative fuel for vehicles.  Like oil, this common fuel comes from underground. However, natural gas, as the name implies, is a gas much like air, rather than a liquid like petroleum. It has been found to be one of the most environmentally friendly fuels, and its popularity is growing.

You can find another type of alternative fuel in the form of good old fashioned electricity.  In fact, electric vehicles have been around for a long time, and they are coming back in popularity due to environmental concerns.  Electric vehicles don’t burn gasoline in an engine. They use electricity stored on the car in batteries. Sometimes, 12 or 24 batteries, or more, are needed to power the car.

One of the most interesting and promising type of alternative transportation fuels is hydrogen. While mostly only experimental vehicles are operating on this fuel now, the potential for this unique energy source is excellent. Hydrogen is the lightest of all elements and is easy to produce which is why it is sending excitement waves throughout the alternative fuel industry as they next big type of alternative fuel that can be used in vehicles.

These are only a few types of alternative fuels and more are being developed all the time.  With a growing concern over global warming, the use of alternative fuels will grow in popularity over time and you will likely begin to see many other types of alternative fuels make their appearance.

Alternative Fuel Hummer

Ever since the military allowed the design of the hummer to be made public, people have gone crazy over its design.  General Motors acquired the brand name and marketing rights of the hummer and now that alternative fuels have begun to grow in popularity, they are also beginning to make an alternative fuel hummer.

Classically, the hummer has been a non-favorite vehicle for environmentalists because it gets horrific gas mileage and uses more gas than a regular vehicle.  That’s why it made sense for someone to come up the design for an alternative fuel hummer that would be easy on the environment as well as the driver’s pocketbook.

There is a pioneer in the green movement to make a hummer that could run on alternative fuels.  His name is Tom Holm and he is with the non-profit organization Eco-Trek Organization who promotes cleaner air by using cars that burn alternative fuels instead of gasoline.  He decided that he was tired of his gas guzzling hummer and wanted to make it more environmentally friendly considering his association with Eco-Trek.  So he set out to make an alternative fuel hummer.  And he succeeded.

He now sells alternative fuel hummers that have shown to be very popular and selling at a really quick rate.  He “tricks out” his vehicles and makes them visually appealing as well.  He is highly thought of especially among the young crowd who want an environmentally safe vehicle that looks cool and can run on alternative fuel – that would be Tom’s hummers.

His alternative fuel hummers run on bio-diesel made from soybeans and corn.  They use less petroleum than a hybrid car and are capable of running entirely on vegetable oil alone.  That’s right, you can run one of his alternative fuel hummers on Crisco!  This alternative fuel hummer may be the biggest thing on the road, but it doesn’t use one drop of petroleum and gets 23 miles per gallon.

Celebrities are big fans of these alternative fuel hummers including California governor Arnold Schwarzneggar who owns two hummers that run on bio-diesel.  He recently had one of his hummers modified to run on hydrogen as well which emits absolutely no greenhouse gas which, of course, is great for the environment.

If you love the look of a hummer but want one that runs on alternative fuel, fear not.  The product is out there to buy ready made or you can one converted into an eco-friendly vehicle.  Keep in mind it will cost you some money, but when you consider what you are doing for our planet, owning and driving an alternative fuel hummer can be well worth the cost!

2 thoughts on “Alternative Fuels

  1. Lori,Very well written article… however you are lumping Propane(Autogas) and Compressed Natural Gas CNG together. As an alternative fuel these 2 fuel sources could not be more different. This is basically the same thing as saying that gasoline and diesel are the same thing. I would love to be able to talk with you and provide you with detailed information between these Alternative Fuels.

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