Alt Fuels

  • President Donald Trump (Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)

    President Donald Trump is expected Tuesday to direct the EPA to lift the seasonal ban on higher-ethanol E15 blends of pump gasoline linked to summer smog issues. The move has been anticipated for months. This timing for it, according to Reuters, is aimed at helping Republican candidates in farm-belt states during mid-term elections held in four weeks. DON'T MISS: U.S. now uses more corn for ethanol than anything else (2011) In recent years it has been increasingly difficult to find sound supporters of the U.S. ethanol mandate—outside of the agribusiness and corn-growing communities that...

  • University of Michigan algae biodiesel project
    Algae blooms could be a boon for eco-diesel under DOE-funded project

    Algae-based biodiesel has been hyped in the past as a renewable fuel that can be produced here in the U.S., lowering greenhouse-gas emissions without displacing food crops or taxing water supplies. And yet it still hasn’t arrived in any significant way. There’s no single factor to blame...

  • Hyundai Nexo self-driving prototype
    South Korean government trims orders for Hyundai Nexo hydrogen-fuel cars

    Nine months after announcing its intention to buy 10,000 Hyundai Nexo hydrogen-fueled cars, the South Korean government has halved its order. That's according to Business Korea, which said Tuesday that a report published by the government earlier this month indicated that the government plans to...

  • Big square baler harvesting wheat straw for production of cellulosic ethanol
    E10 gasoline now standard, but E15 push stalled, so here comes E30

    Though the Environmental Protection Agency has already ruled on ethanol-blended gasoline mixtures for 2018, that hasn't stopped ethanol advocates from pushing for a higher 30-percent blend for non-flex-fuel vehicles. The latest call for ethanol comes from corn-state ethanol refiners, farmers, and...

  • 2018 Nissan Leaf
    What topic should we have covered less in 2017? Take our Twitter poll

    No single definition exists for the idea of "green car," and very few shoppers set out to go buy a green car. Instead, car buyers look for vehicles that meet their needs—with fuel economy or energy efficiency somewhere in that list of needs, whether higher or lower. Certainly the definition...

  • 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, 2016 Toyota Mirai at hydrogen fueling station, Fountain Valley, CA
    Which alternative fuels will survive long-term? Twitter poll results

    Building a fueling network turns out to be more of a challenge than many advocates, regulators, and drivers may have anticipated. The attempt to boost passenger vehicles fueled by cheap, abundant U.S. natural gas is now essentially over, with a mere 942 public natural-gas fueling stations...

  • Non-ethanol gasoline pump

    As they say, the best compromise is usually the one that leaves all parties equally dissatisfied. When it comes to the Environmental Protection Agency's renewable-fuel mandate, it seems regulators have reached equilibrium. The latest skirmish in the long-running battle over the U.S. renewable-fuel standard appears to have been settled, at least for the moment. DON'T MISS: Trump EPA: less enforcement of laws, more leeway for polluters As oil producers pushed for changes to the standard, EPA head Scott Pruitt appears to have caved to pressure from corn-state Republican legislators. Accordingly...

  • 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, 2016 Toyota Mirai at hydrogen fueling station, Fountain Valley, CA
    Which alternative fuels will survive long-term? Take our Twitter poll

    You just don't hear the phrase "alternative fuels" as much as you did, say, 10 years ago. With a couple of million plug-in electric cars now on the world's roads, the idea of swapping in one hydrocarbon fuel for another may have passed its time. Admittedly biodiesel continues to make quiet inroads...

  • 2008 Honda Civic GX, photographed by owner Duncan Chalmers, Seattle
    When fueling stations shut down for your natural-gas car: one reader's experience

    Let's say you buy the greenest car you can, one that uses a different kind of fuel, and drive it happily for several years. What happens when the supply of your fuel suddenly ends, and you can no longer fill up your car? That's just what happened to Duncan Chalmers of Seattle, who can no longer...

  • World's first electric-plane aerotow with Siemens SPD260-powered Extra 330LE, © Jean-Marie Urlacher
    Are electric airplanes actually a real thing?

    With electrification spreading through many types of transport, one vehicle still remains largely absent in using electrons for propulsion: aircraft. Automakers have been building commercially viable electrified cars—in whole (electrics) or in part (hybrids)—for more than two decades...

  • Tesla South Australia lithium-ion battery storage
    Tesla builds world's largest lithium-ion battery, for utility use, in Australia

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a bet that he'd build the world's largest lithium-ion battery in Australia in 100 days. If his company failed, Musk would personally pay for the project, but the battery is now ready for its first test ahead of full operation—and on schedule. The massive...

  • Dutch "Hesla," a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Tesla Model S
    A Tesla Model S that runs on hydrogen fuel cells? Dutch firm claims it built one

    Tesla has never built anything but battery-electric cars. Now a Dutch gasoline company believes it's improved upon the Silicon Valley automaker's design with a hydrogen fuel cell—so much so that it wants to sell its solution to the general public. The Holthausen Group, a Dutch gasoline...

  • Stella Vie Dutch solar car winner in World Solar Challenge

    Earlier this month, the 30th World Solar Challenge kicked off in Darwin, Australia, with 42 competitors vying for victory. At the end of the 3,022-kilometer (1,880-mile) race from Darwin to Adelaide, one team emerged victorious in the highly contested Cruiser class. Solar Team Eindhoven, from the Netherlands, placed first with its Stella Vie "family car," racking up double the efficiency points awarded to the second-place finisher. DON'T MISS: Solar-powered car race kicks off 30 years of World Solar Challenge The Stella Vie solar car uses a unique Solar Navigator platform from...

  • Big square baler harvesting wheat straw for production of cellulosic ethanol
    Proposed ethanol cuts bring EPA up against Iowa's powerful politician

    Following years of debate, the EPA said earlier this month it will study the possibilities of cutting the amount of ethanol in the United States' gasoline supply. Since 2007, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has required growing amounts of ethanol to be blended into U.S. fuel supplies, with...

  • World Solar Challenge 2017
    Solar-powered car race kicks off 30 years of World Solar Challenge

    Although a car powered solely by solar power is far from reality, the 30th anniversary of the World Solar Challenge showcased just how far the technology has come. World Solar Challenge kicked off its celebrations with this year's iteration of the solar-powered car race in Darwin, Australia, on...

  • FlexFuel badge on E85-capable 2009 Chevrolet HHR
    EPA to study cutting amount of ethanol in U.S. gasoline

    Since 2007, the Renewable Fuel Standard has required increasing levels of ethanol in gasoline blends sold in the U.S. Most fuel stations across the United States no longer offer pure gasoline, with E10—a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline—prevailing. After years of...

  • 2017 Audi A5 Sportback g-tron (European model), driven, Aug 2017  [photo: Ronan Glon]
    Audi A5 Sportback g-tron: first drive of natural-gas luxury sport sedan

    Audi’s vision of future mobility primarily centers around an array of long-range electric cars scheduled to debut in the coming years under the "e-tron" badge. These are intended to be Tesla killers, as they’re often called in Germany. But there’s another kind of tron with a...

  • Colas Wattway road-mounted solar panels
    California's solar energy grid survived the eclipse without incident

    Solar power provides 10 percent of California's energy supply, which meant electric-grid operators had to be prepared for potentially disastrous effects during Monday's solar eclipse. To the surprise of many, there were no serious repercussions as the moon blocked a significant source of energy for...

  • UPS natural gas fueling station

    Natural gas vehicles were first promoted starting in about 2000 as a way to reduce reliance on imported oil and cut tailpipe emissions. Their promise appeared to grow near the height of the global financial crisis, when gas prices hovered around $4 per gallon across much of the United States. The domestic fuel promised to cut carbon-dioxide emissions and cut fuel costs for drivers—at a time when electric cars were essentially nonexistent. DON'T MISS: Smallest state poses big question: natural gas or renewable energy? This left a market primed for natural-gas vehicles, one in which the...

  • Felix Kramer and his fleet: Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Plug in Prius
    Green Car Glossary: vehicles, emissions, fuels, electric cars, powertrains energy (updated)

    As rules to boost fuel economy and lower carbon emissions in vehicles around the world continue to stiffen, acronyms like EREV, CNG, and MPGe are becoming more and more common. Ever wonder what they all mean? This glossary is your chance to enter a veritable Twilight Zone of terminology--and find...

  • Celtic Renewables biobutanol whiskey fuel
    Scotland fuels car with biobutanol derived from whiskey production

    Electric cars may receive most of the attention within the realm of alternative propulsion methods, but liquid hydrocarbon fuels will be with us for many decades to come. The challenge then becomes how to reduce the carbon footprint of extracting, transporting, refining, and burning those fuels to...

  • Offshore wind farm
    From coal miner to wind-farm worker: Wyoming retraining program

    President Donald Trump has announced his intention to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Pact, but private companies and other entities are taking on the challenge of clean energy themselves. Goldwind Americas, a subsidiary of a leading Chinese wind-turbine manufacturer, continues to...

  • Non-ethanol gasoline pump
    Ethanol wasn't killed by Prohibition at Rockefeller's request: another alt-fuel myth busted

    For almost a century, many people have blamed oil magnate John D. Rockefeller for the demise of ethanol as a viable fuel for internal-combustion engines. He fought its use, the theory goes, to eliminate competition for the gasoline derived from his Standard Oil business—whose descendant...

  • 1914 Ford Model T
    Alt-fuel history: Ford Model T wasn't designed for multiple fuels, really

    The myth surrounding the car that's credited with putting America on wheels simply isn't true: the Ford Model T was never meant to run fuels other than gasoline. The myth has circulated throughout the car's history, most recently thanks to the internet. It has mostly taken the form of a legend in...

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