Charting a new course: Google mapsEnlarge Photo
Luckily, you have technology on your side in the modern age. So below you'll find the best five ways of locating that natural gas, E85, bio-diesel, electric or other alt-fuel station nearby and further afield.
If you have the time to spare, one of the best ways of locating your local alt-fuel stations is to pop on the internet and go to a website that directs you to them. The U.S. Department of Energy has just such a site, and there are plenty of others along the same lines, as well as fuel- or electricity-specific ones.
2. iTunes, Android Store
Unsurprisingly, in this age of taking the internet with you wherever you go, people have created smartphone apps that allow you to find the alternative fuel of your choice wherever you may be at the time.
There are several such apps available in the iTunes store, for example. Most are unreviewed, but apps like Find Fuel, Alternative Fuel Locator, Flex Finder and Charge Locator all direct you to the nearest alt-fuel station - or charging post - of your choice.
3. Navigation system
Sometimes, the best solution can be right under your nose. Many cars have satellite navigation systems these days, and most will direct you to the nearest gas station. Some even go as far as listing alternative fuel stations. The Honda Civic Natural Gas, for example, has the ability to point out the closest CNG pumps, though it does take a bit of searching through the menus to activate it.
4. Smartphone mapping
Similar to your car, most smartphones these days have a GPS receiver and as such, with a bit of sleuthing on map software like Google maps, you can bring up the nearest alt-fuel stations or EV charging posts in your viscinity. Type "electric car charging" into Google maps and it'll drop pins in all the Nissan dealers - which offer free charging.
5. Find them yourself!
Perhaps not the most practical advice, certainly if you happen to be in the middle of nowhere with only a few miles remaining before you run out of juice. However, if you have the time - or even if you keep your eyes peeled on your daily commute - then you may discover alt-fuel pumps all around you, at local stations, or just off the freeway.
If electricity is your thing, then potential places to charge are virtually everywhere - though admittedly, some may require a bit of sweet-talking...