10 Alternative Fuels That Could Replace Gasoline

By Janice Larsen
Updated October 9, 2014
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10 Alternative Fuels That Could Replace GasolineRising prices at the gas pump mean that more and more people dream of a future without gasoline. There are a number of alternate fuels that are in different stages of development, and they offer us hope for a path away from our dependence on expensive and pollution-causing gas and oil. At some point, one of these alternate fuels will become a viable mainstream replacement for gasoline.

1.) Methanol

Methanol, or wood alcohol, is cleaner and less flammable than gasoline, and it’s cheaper, too. Methanol can be obtained from both renewable resources and fossil fuels, and is already being used in some race cars, and in emerging economies.

2.) Ethanol

Ethanol is derived from plant matter, and it’s cleaner and cheaper than gasoline. A lot of the gas sold in the US already contains 10 percent ethanol. In the US, most ethanol is made from corn, but it could be made from any type of biomass, including garbage.

3.) Electricity

Electric cars are gaining in popularity. You can find totally electric plug-in cars, and hybrid vehicles that use electricity with other fuels. Currently, the hybrid cars are most popular, but as charging stations become more common, pure electric cars are seeing growing sales.

4.) Natural Gas

Most of the natural gas in the US is used for homes and businesses, but there are currently over 100,000 vehicles, which run on natural gas. It is a popular choice for city buses. Natural gas burns clean, it’s odorless and non-toxic, and it’s cheaper than gasoline or diesel.

5.) Biomass Gasoline

Rather than extracting oil and gas from limited underground resources, it may be possible to make gasoline from sawdust, wood chips, or other waste material. A similar process was used in Europe during World War II, when gas was unavailable.

6.) Gas From Turkeys

Entrepreneurs in Missouri have found a way to turn turkey leftovers (including guts, bones and feathers) into gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel. They say they could do the same thing from chicken or hog waste.

7.) Chocolate Based Fuel

A British team from the University of Warwick has created a Formula 3 race car that runs on biodiesel made from chocolate waste. The project manager says that anything with fat can be made into fuel, and that’s what they have done with chocolate.

8.) Running On Coffee

Coffee grinds are a common waste product that usually goes into landfills. Companies in Switzerland and Germany are currently collecting these coffee grounds, and turning them into a natural-gas type fuel.

9.) Styrofoam Fuel

Polystyrene used in disposable styrofoam cups and plates is bulky and expensive to recycle, but it can be an effective fuel additive. It melts quickly in biodiesel, and requires only minor engine modifications.

10.) Methane

There are 1.5 billion cows in the world, and they produce a lot of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Each cow produces up to 130 gallons of methane every day. Scientists are working on ways to harness all this methane for useful power.

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