When you go to the fuel pump, you are probably putting gasoline in your vehicle. If you have a truck, you may be using diesel. However, if you are like most people, you don’t spend much time thinking about the fuel you are using or why you use it. However, as the conversation around climate change continues, it is increasingly important to think about fuel.
For most drivers in the U.S., gasoline is the standard. It is relatively inexpensive, it is readily available and most vehicles are designed to use it. Of course, gasoline is a fossil fuel and notoriously creates dangerous emissions. Technologies such as catalytic converters help with emissions; however, gas continues to be cause for concern with the environment.
Diesel is another fossil fuel that is very common in automobiles. It is more popular with trucks and heavy vehicles. Many boats use diesel also. Compared to gasoline, diesel-based engines create a lot of torque (force to move a load). So, it tends to be popular for industrial uses. From an environmental perspective, diesel is very similar to gasoline.
Increasingly, electric cars are becoming popular. They use electrical power than can come from alternative and renewable sources. Compared to gasoline and diesel, they are very environmentally friendly, even when assuming that coal was used to produce the electricity. Plus, they emit no dangerous fumes while running. Unfortunately, electric vehicles are expensive. They are also very bad at handling heavy loads due to the low energy density of batteries.
Compressed natural gas and liquified natural gas are also alternative fuels. They are somewhere between electric and gasoline. It is a non-renewable resource but much less harmful than gasoline. Unfortunately, until CNG fueling station construction accelerates, it is unlikely that these vehicles will get popular.
Learn more about vehicle fuels. The more you understand, the easier it is to find the right one for you.