Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • Some of the most popular fuel alternatives include electric, flex-fuel, biodiesel, propane, and hybrid
  • Flex-fuel engines are designed to run on more than one fuel
  • Dedicated electric cars are estimated to number around 160,000

Check out the list of alternative fuel cars below to see what the best type of alternative fuel car is for YOUR needs.

Then be sure to compare free quotes for car insurance from many different car insurance companies online to see how much money you might be able to save – just enter your zip code above to get started!


Alternative Fuel Cars Compared


Alternative Fuel Vehicles Compared

For years now, scientists have known about the existence of alternative fuels. However, it seems like just recently these gasoline substitutes have become widespread in their use.

Some of the most popular fuel alternatives include electric, flex-fuel, biodiesel, propane, and of course the hybrid.

Types of Alternative Fuel Vehicles in More Detail

  • Dedicated Electric – These cars use electricity that is stored in batteries as their source of fuel. Some of the positive features of this type of technology is the zero tailpipe-emissions which equate to less air pollution. A downside is the cost to replace the battery once it dies and the carbon footprint that goes with that.
  • Flex Fuel – These engines are designed to run on more than one fuel, commonly gasoline blended with ethanol (the kind you probably don’t want to take shots of). The resultant mixture is called “E85.” The engine timing and spark plugs adapt to either fuel as needed.
  • Propane – Propane cars use liquid propane just like a gas grill. Propane burns cleaner, causing less harm to the engine and of course less pollution. But even still, propane is a fossil fuel and thus will eventually run out, making all those propane cars (like every other fossil fuel-burning car) obsolete.
  • Hybrid Electric – These guys combine the conventional internal combustion engine system with an electric compulsion system to decrease ugly pollution. Electricity is produced during the braking process and stored up until needed. They churn out fewer emissions and get great gas mileage, but they still burn gas.
  • Biodiesel – Biodiesel fuel is actually meant to be used in standard diesel engines. Studies have shown it to decrease greenhouse gas emissions up to 42 percent from standard diesel engines.

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Alternative Fuel Models in Each Category

There are many different types of alternative fuel cars in each category. Here are some of the more popular alternative fuel cars:

Electric Cars

Dedicated electric cars are estimated to number around 160,000.

  • Nissan Leaf – This fully electric model from Japan will cost you around $32,000 and use 0.32 KWh/m city and 0.37 KWH/m highway. That’s some jargon your probably not used to, but it translates to how much electricity it will go through.
  • Tesla Roadster 2.5 – If you have some extra disposable income floating around the house, why not indulge in the Tesla Roadster 2.5? This beauty has a $128,000 price tag and gets 0.3 KWh/m city.

Hybrid Models

There are over 3.3 million hybrid electric vehicles used worldwide with 1.9M in the U.S alone and around 1.3 in Japan.

  • BMW Active Hybrid 7 – Gets around 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway. Not too bad, but with a $90k price tag you might want to go cheaper.
  • Ford Fusion Hybrid – Retails for only $28,000 and gets 41 mpg in the city.
  • Honda Civic Hybrid – A crowd favorite. With a lower price tag of $24,000 this sleek Civic gets 40 mpg in the city and a whopping 45 mpg on the highway.

Biodiesel Models

Some of you may have your eyes on a car that produces 42 percent less CO2 than emissions from regular diesel fuel. Totally understandable.

  • BMW – 335d – People love BMWs, especially when they are biodiesel. The $45,000 price tag isn’t to bad when your paying for luxury plus you get 23 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway.
  • Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTEC – We wouldn’t give you a BMW without also including a car from its best competitor. This beast of a car goes for $7k more and gets around the same mpg in the city as does the BMW.

Propane Models

There are over 11.2 M natural gas vehicles worldwide. The most come from Pakistan, Argentina, and Iran. Three countries you wouldn’t expect were the leaders in propane unless you know a thing or two about cars.

  • Honda Civic CNG Civics always make a good standard car and are affordable to many. Plus the CNG gets 31 mpg on the highway.
  • CNv  That’s right, a school bus. The price tag is unknown and it gets an estimated 6 miles in the city per gallon. Not the best mileage, but it does move a lot of people.

Flex Fuel

There are currently over 22.6 flex-fueled vehicles used worldwide. Just under 10 million of these guys are currently cruising around the U.S.A.

Buick Lucerne CX – Anyone who’s not keen on Buicks has obviously never driven the classy CX. It will cost you roughly $29k and gets a measly 13 mpg in the city, but it still is one nice piece of machinery.

Finding a List of Alternative Fueling Stations

Now before you buy a car that runs on alternative fuel you might want to check how many alternative fueling stations your state has. It could be more than you think.

Many states have between 10-200. Currently, traditional fueling stations far outnumber alternative fuel ones. But that will have the change.

Alternative fuel will be here to stay as gas becomes rarer and harder to obtain. The world’s drivers are just going to have to adjust somehow.

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