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.


Propane (or liquefied petroleum gas, LPG) is an odorless, nontoxic, colorless gas. A product of petroleum refining, propane is available for vehicular use and has a high octane rating. Like compressed natural gas, propane reduces both carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions. It is also a reliable fuel because propane distributors and farmers have used it for over 60 years. In addition, many auto manufacturers make propane vehicles, which usually cost about $3,000 more than a typical gasoline vehicle.

The distribution network for propane is well developed, and many small stations carry the fuel due to its popularity in farm and recreational vehicles. According to the U.S. DOE, there are 27 stations in South Carolina offering LPG.