Eco-Friendly Car Guide

By | May 18, 2011

Flex Fuel CarsEver wonder what the variation is between different alternative fuel cars like a plug in hybrid, a flex fuel or an electric car?

Here’s a breakdown of all the different types of green vehicles that are currently available and also in development.


Hybrids combine two or more different propulsion systems, typically a gasoline engine and one or more electric drive motors. Most hybrids on the road today compliment their gas engines by charging a battery when breaking. Engines running on diesel or other alternative fuels can also be used in hybrids. A hybrid drive is fully scalable, which means the drive can be used to power everything from small commuter cars to large buses and even locomotives. Hybrids get more MPG or miles per gallon than most non-hybrids, and usually have very low tailpipe emissions.

Plug In Hybrids

Plug in hybrids get high MPG, cover many miles on battery power alone, and include a gasoline engine to provide greater range as needed. Plug in hybrids are mostly recharged from the grid, but some plug-in hybrid models can generate electricity when using them.

Electric Cars

Electric cars use one or more electric drive motors, powered by batteries, for zero-emission motoring. Electric cars are recharged by plugging into the grid, either at home, or with special electric vehicle charging stations. Car manufacturers are actively developing a new generation of electric cars using technologies and lessons learned from electric vehicles developed in the 1990s. Electric cars are extremely efficient and run for pennies per mile, much cheaper than any other alternative fuel.


Biodiesel is a renewable alternative fuel made from various sources ranging from waste vegetable oil to soybeans. Biodiesel can be used in most diesel powered cars without modification. Biodiesel is a cleaner fuel than standard petroleum diesel.


Ethanol is an alcohol-based alternative fuel made from biomass. As a popular alternative fuel, ethanol is typically used in the form of E85 to power flex fuel cars outfitted specifically to run on this blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. There are  more than 30 flex fuel vehicle models that have been designed to run on two fuels from the same tank. Most ethanol today is produced from corn or sugar cane, although this will change as cheaper cellulosic ethanol made from fast growing woody grasses and other biomass becomes a reality.

Hydrogen Cars & Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Hydrogen is perhaps the cleanest of all alternative fuels, burning with nearly zero emissions in an internal combustion engine and with emissions of only water vapor and heat in an electro-mechanical fuel cell. Hydrogen vehicles are being developed in many forms by most major car manufacturers.

Air Powered Cars

Air powered cars are relatively new to the green car scene. Compressed air is currently being explored as a viable ‘alternative fuel’ to efficiently power car engines with little or no environmental impact.

Natural Gas

Natural gas, the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, is being used by an increasing number of medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Natural gas is stored and used in its liquefied or compressed states. It is most commonly abbreviated as LNG for Liquefied Natural Gas, and CNG for Compressed Natural Gas. While a variety of light-duty natural gas cars were once available, the only factory-produced natural gas car made today in the U.S. is Honda’s Civic GX. Other car models may be developed and sold in the United States as additional focus is placed on natural gas as a fuel source for alternative fuel vehicles.

Via: GreenCar

11 thoughts on “Eco-Friendly Car Guide

  1. Mike's Air Conditioning

    That is all very good news because it is very essential to take care of the earth and look after it in the right way and take care of the environment.Car emit a lot of fowl fuel which has to be curbed as much as possible.

  2. Alexandra

    This article is extremely helpful! I am looking to purchase a new car and I want something that will be environmentally friendly for the long run! To stay friendly with the environment I also use an onsite automotive detailer to come to my house to clean my car! I find this was better because I am not wasting gas or travel and the water supply is much smaller then a car wash!

  3. Andrea Carrazana

    This is a great article. It helps people like me; I hear/read the terms all the time without truly knowing what they mean.

  4. plumbing

    I really appreciate eco friendly cars. They play an important role in our transportation and environment system.

  5. edufuntoys

    There are also water-powered cars, which I really wish would hit the market. They’ve been tested for years and apparently breakdown the oxygen and hydrogen components of water for energy. Plus, I don’t believe there are any harmful emissions, since anything unused would just be water vapor.

  6. Sandipan

    I feel that all major car manufacturers should start showing their concern for the environment by rolling out Electric cars.

  7. florarie

    In a few years i think we all need to use alternative fuels for our cars. We need to think more and more to the environment and not to us.

  8. Brad

    Gas is still the cheapest source of energy for a car. In 1958 gas cost $0.24 cents a gallon, 1998 gas cost $0.99 cents. So in 40 years gas prices increased roughly $0.01875 cents a gallon. From 1998 to 2012 a 14 year span gas prices went from $0.99 to $3.52 roughly increasing $0.18 cents a year. The only thing that really happened in the car world was the SUV. I have a 1998 Ford Explorer it would cost me $0.1745 cents a mile to drive at current gas prices. Back in 1998 it would have cost $0.0495 cent a mile to drive. A high MPG car costs about half, so $0.09 cents per mile to drive at today’s gas prices and would be less than $0.01 cent back in 1998 at $0.99 a gallon. If you ask me the Green Movement Raised gas prices, which started in the 1990’s.

  9. John

    @florarie: you`re right! We should be more sustainable and think only for our future!

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