Alternative Fuels

Substitutes for Petroleum

Alternative fuels can be substituted for traditional gasoline or diesel fuels. The federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 identifies six such fuels listed below. Alternative fuels may be used either as a replacement for gasoline or in conjunction with it. All alternative fuels can be domestically produced, and most provide significant air quality benefits when used as a vehicle fuel.

Compressed Natural Gas

Natural gas is an odorless, colorless, non-toxic gas found in conjunction with petroleum deposits. It is transported to South Carolina through interstate pipes and is compressed to obtain greater volumetric storage capacity. Most South Carolinians use natural gas every day to cook and heat houses, but using natural gas in vehicles could have significant improvements on air quality and our dependence on petroleum.

The use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel reduces vehicle emissions substantially. Its relative cleanliness also means that maintenance of your vehicle can be extended from 3,500 miles to over 6,000 miles. Historically, CNG costs less than gasoline and is very stable compared to the high volatility of gasoline and diesel. Most vehicles can be retrofitted with after-market CNG conversion kits. These kits may allow the vehicle to operate on CNG and/or gasoline or diesel. Some auto manufacturers are producing vehicles with CNG capabilities off the factory floor like the Honda GX or the 2012 Chevrolet Express. For a listing of vehicle conversion kits, please visit the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehciles Data Center.

Natural gas is perhaps one of the most abundant fuels found in the United States. Utilizing natural gas for transportation can significantly increase our air quality, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and put Americans to work.