Environmental Engineering Reference
ent oil economy. Gasoline was originally available in small amounts often
from hand pumps. As demand for gasoline for automobiles grew, so did
fuel outlets. The federal government promoted alternative fuel vehicles in
the 1990s, but there is a lack of interest in alternative fuels when gasoline
is widely available.
The United States passed the Energy Policy Act in 1992. One goal
was to reduce the amount of petroleum used for transportation by pro-
moting the use of alternative fuels in cars and light trucks. These fuels in-
cluded natural gas, methanol, ethanol, propane, electricity, and biodiesel.
Alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) can operate on these fuels and many are
dual fueled also running on gasoline.
Another goal was to have alternative fuels replace at least 10% of
petroleum fuels in 2000 and at least 30% in 2010. Part of the new vehicles
bought for state and federal government fleets, as well as alternative fuel
providers, must be AFVs. The Department of Energy (DOE) was to en-
courage AFVs in several ways, including partnerships with city govern-
ments and others. This work went to the Office of Energy Efficiency and
Renewable Energy. By 2000, less than 1/2 million AFVs were in use which
is less than 0.2% of all vehicles. In 2000, alternative fuels used by AFVs re-
placed about 350 million gallons of gasoline, about 0.3% of the year's total
consumption. Almost 4 billion gallons of ethanol and methanol replaced
gasoline that year in blended gasoline that was sold for standard gasoline
The DOE has been developing clean energy technologies and pro-
moting the use of more efficient lighting, motors, heating and cooling. As
a result of these efforts and efforts by others, there have been savings by
business and consumers of more than $30 billion in energy costs. Getting
people to use alternative fuel vehicles has proven to be more difficult.
The GAO stated that the goals in the act for fuel replacement were
not met because alternative fuel vehicles have serious economic disad-
vantages compared to conventional gasoline engines. These included the
comparative price of gasoline, the lack of refueling stations for alternative
fuels and the additional costs of these vehicles.
Hydrogen powered internal combustion engines could promote the
infrastructure for fuel cell cars. An internal combustion engine (ICE) can