By using alternative fuels you can have a have positive effect on our economy, environment, public health and our nation's security. Alternative fuels, alternative fuel vehicles and deployment of alternative fuel refueling infrastructure are vital to diversifying our transportation fuel use resources. Most alternative fuels are produced domestically and some are derived from renewable sources.
If you are looking to purchasing an alternative fueled vehicle, there may be assistance available to you in the form of rebates and tax credits. The Pennsylvania DEP is committed to the promotion and deployment of Alternative Fuels and Alternative Fuel Vehicles and infrastructure through our funding program, the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant and Rebate Programs.
The most common types of alternative fuel use in vehicles are:
Electricity - Used to fully power plug-in electric vehicles (cars, buses, trains), which are increasingly available. There are also hybrid-electric vehicles that use electricity to boost efficiency through start-stop technology or capturing electrical energy through braking.
Ethanol - Is a substitute for gasoline made from corn and other plant materials. This is generally known as E-10 or 10% ethanol in gasoline. Some vehicles can operate off of an 85% blend of ethanol with gasoline.
Biodiesel - Is a renewable substitute for diesel fuel and can be manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled cooking grease. Biodiesel can be blended with petroleum diesel in nearly any percentage for motor vehicles but is also a replacement for heating oil. Pennsylvania currently has a 2% bio content requirement for all on-road diesels sold in Pennsylvania.
Natural gas - Natural gas is a domestically produced gaseous fuel and with Pennsylvania's abundance of natural gas from Marcellus Shale, the use of natural gas can have a significant fuel cost advantages over gasoline and diesel fuel.*
Propane - Is a substitute for gasoline or diesel when paired with propane using engines. It is a readily available gaseous fuel which can be delivered and dispensed easily, especially in rural parts of the state. Propane is widely used for heating and small engine applications including tow motors, lawnmowers, forklifts, vans and buses.*
Hydrogen - Is a potentially emissions- free alternative fuel that can be produced from domestic resources for use in fuel cell vehicles.
* Some engines can switch between gasoline and either propane or natural gas OR operate on a blend.