Buy an Alternative Fuel Vehicle

An alternative fuel vehicle is a vehicle that is fueled by something other than gasoline (petrol) or petroleum-based diesel. Such vehicles may be fueled by ethanol, methanol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), biodiesel, electricity, or hydrogen. Such vehicles are an option for those who wish to avoid gasoline (petrol) for ethical, financial, or environmental reasons. The following explains how to buy an alternative fuel vehicle.


  1. Research the availability of alternative fuels in your area.
    • Electricity will probably be the most abundant alternative fuel in your area.
    • Some areas, such as the US Midwest and all of Brazil, have a considerable amount of ethanol (often called E85) available. Check the availability in your area before purchasing an ethanol-fueled vehicle.
    • Some automobile manufactures make vehicles that may be fueled by either gasoline (petrol) or ethanol. This is an alternative if you would like to use ethanol, but are concerned with it's availability.
    • Hydrogen fuel is mostly available in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Check the availability in your area if you are considering purchasing a vehicle that is powered by hydrogen.
    • Biodiesel is available in many countries throughout the world. For those living in the United States, visit the following URL to locate the nearest biodiesel station:
    • Methanol is much cheaper than the other forms of alternative fuel. However, it has very limited availability, so it is best to check into it before purchasing a vehicle powered by methanol.
    • LPG is widely available in the United States with it's heaviest concentration being in California. Whether you are in the US or elsewhere, check the availability of this fuel before purchasing a LPG-powered vehicle.
    • CNG is widely available in Canada, South Asia, South America, the Middle East, parts of Africa, Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria. If you live outside of these areas, check the availability of CNG in your area before purchasing a CNG-fueled vehicle.
  2. Decide which types of alternative fuel vehicles you are interested in.
    • Based on the price and availability of each fuel in your area, determine which types of vehicles you'd like to consider.
    • The price of any fuel in many areas can be found on the Internet. Otherwise, contact or visit local fuel retailers for their prices.
    • There are various Internet sites that will help you further research vehicles. Use a search engine to research the vehicle types that you are considering.
    • Consider the fuel-economy of each type of fuel. Many fuels may appear to have less costs and emissions than gasoline (petrol), but some have a lower fuel-economy and the driver ends up paying more money and emitting more pollution.
  3. Determine the make and model of vehicle that you would like to purchase.
    • Some manufacturers have more experience than others in making alternative fuel vehicles.
    • Japanese manufacturers are known for building high-quality alternative fuel vehicles.
    • Perform an Internet search to help you decide which type of vehicle to buy. Many websites offer comparisons of vehicles.
  4. Visit or contact local vehicle dealerships or private sellers who offer the type of vehicle you are looking for.
    • Listings of private and dealership-owned vehicles can be found on the Internet, a local newspaper, or a local vehicle guide.
  5. Test-drive vehicles until you find one that you are comfortable with. Purchase the vehicle of your choice.


  • Some areas offer tax-advantages to those who purchase alternative fuel vehicles. Check with the appropriate governing body in your area to see if you will receive any tax breaks for purchasing such a vehicle.
  • Some alternative fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol, can be produced at home. Instructions on how to do so can be found on the Internet. Obtain any necessary permits before attempting to make your own fuel.

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