The demand for alternative-fuel vehicles continues to grow, with more ecologically sensitive motorists wanting clean-air alternatives to gas-powered cars, and cost-conscious buyers seeking to save money at the gas pump. This trend has been driven from the top down. State and federal regulations have been made tougher, requiring automakers manufacture cars that meet stricter emissions standards and higher gas-mileage rules. For individual consumers, the options available for alternative-fuel vehicles run from two-seater sports cars and family sedans to pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
1. Hybrid Electric Vehicles
The most common alternative-fuel vehicles are gas-electric hybrids (HEVs). Combining a gas and electric propulsion system, hybrids have been widely available in the U.S. for more than 15 years and continue to grow in popularity with some 50 models currently available for sale. The battery in gas-electric hybrids is charged from the engine and through braking, which then allows the battery to power the car at low speeds and during stops and starts.