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Different Types of Energy for Vehicles You Should Know

Are you thinking about buying a new car? Americans buy around 17 million cars a year on average, with most of these being traditional, fossil-fuel burning vehicles.

However, as more and more people begin to understand the harm that fossil fuels have on the environment, some are beginning to consider alternative energy types.

Although they might not realize it, modern consumers have several different energy types to choose from—some of which are eco-friendly and others that are not.

So what are the options?

Keep reading to learn more.

Traditional Gasoline

Gasoline is what most of the cars we see on the road today use to run. It comes from oil, and cars have used it as fuel in internal-combustion engines for over a century.

Gasoline is so prevalent in our society that many other types of machines rely on it as well. Land-mowers, generators, and even certain power saws all require it to run.

Yet as most people know, popularity and sustainability are two different things. Fossil fuel-burning cars release 1.7 billion tons of harmful gases into the air every year. Many of these, like carbon dioxide, contribute to global warming.

Many areas are beginning to slow gasoline cars’ sales or even ban them altogether to combat this. States like California and Massachusetts promise to do this in the next few decades, like certain European countries.


Diesel is another form of energy that many cars and trucks use. Like gasoline, it comes from petroleum. It also contains trace amounts of nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur.

As it comes from oil, diesel is not the most eco-friendly choice, especially when your tank gets dirty. Luckily, fuellogic.net can help you clean and polish everything.

One of the more eco-friendly types of diesel is biodiesel.

Different types of biodiesel run on different things, but vegetable or animal fats are always key ingredients. Although it still contains a certain amount of traditional diesel fuel, its supporters believe that it releases much less pollution than the traditional variant.

When gas prices began to climb under the Obama administration, biodiesel fuel became an appealing alternative for many people. Some people even tried making themselves it with homemade vegetable oil!

Natural Gas

Much of the energy that we use to power our homes comes from natural gas. This is because it’s both abundant and cheap in the United States.

Given its popularity, many manufacturers have begun exploring the idea of using natural gas to power vehicles. This provides cars with a clean-burning source of energy and much better for the environment than gasoline.

Manufacturers can produce natural gas in both traditional or renewable ways. Regardless of how they do it, the fuel needs to be liquified for use.

It’s important to understand that natural gas is a type of fossil fuel. That being said, it’s much better for the environment than other types of energy. It burns much less fossil fuel than oil or coal.


Electric vehicles are one of the most popular types of alternative energy. Instead of relying on fuel, these cars draw their energy from rechargeable batteries. The electricity they use can come from power grids or independent sources.

Some cars use a combination of both electricity and traditional fuel sources. Most of the time, these hybrid cars use electricity to make up the fuel they lose during braking and other activities. These vehicles offer exceptional fuel economy.

One of the caveats of electric cars is that some of the electricity sources might not be sustainable. Your car might not be releasing carbon emissions, but if you need to charge up at a station that draws its power from coal, then you’re still part of the fossil fuel burning cycle.

However, they remain an appealing alternative to many—especially when you can guarantee that the electricity supplied to your car comes from a clean source.


Ethanol is a sustainable type of fuel that has gained popularity in recent years. Although they run primarily on gasoline, most of the cars that you see on the road use ethanol in some capacity.

The most common blend that cars use is 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol. In more ethanol-potent variations, ethanol can make up to 83% of the fuel. Flexible fuel vehicle-owners can take advantage of these higher concentrations.

Ethanol is renewable because it comes from corn and other types of plant sources. An overreliance on ethanol could lead to agricultural problems in the future, but as of now, it remains a cleaner-burning alternative to gasoline.


Hydrogen is an alternative to gasoline that releases zero emissions. It can come from several different sources, including natural gas reforming, fermentation, and electrolysis.

Cars that rely on hydrogen have cells that require fuel. After filling up at stations, hydrogen vehicles can go for hundreds of miles without stopping again.

Despite all of the benefits of hydrogen, the infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles isn’t great. Most of the United States’ hydrogen production occurs in areas like Texas, Louisiana, and California.

Experts hope to expand it in the coming years to encourage the popularity of hydrogen cars.

Understand the Different Types of Energy Cars Can Use

Most people still drive around gas-guzzling cars, but as this guide explains, modern cars can use many other types of energy.

If you’re in the market for a new car, consider buying one that draws its energy from one of the more sustainable sources mentioned in this guide. The environment will thank you!

Did you find this article on vehicle energy interesting? If you did, make sure to check out some of our other posts. You’ll find many other informative guides and tips.

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