Alternative fuels is an esoteric concept for the average motorist. Use of the term brings forth an image an eccentric putterer powering an old clunker with chicken manure, or of a dotty professor cruising along at 20 miles per hour in a solar powered car. Nevertheless, some fuel alternative to gasoline is likely a part of the future for American motorists. Experimental trials in normal use conditions of various fuel alternatives are underway in several American cities. These trials will assess the technological feasibility of these fuel alternatives for general transportation uses. Once these assessments have been made, it will still be necessary to evaluate the surviving fuel alternatives in relation to environmental acceptability, supply sufficiency, and other factors. These latter evaluations provide the focus for this current study.
Literature relevant to leading fuel alternatives is reviewed in this chapter. This review provides a background and understanding of the development and characteristics of the fuel alternatives that will be evaluated in this study. A brief review of literature relevant to the research methodology that will be applied in this study is also presented.
With deadlines for reducing carbon monoxide and smog coming ever nearer, debates on the merits of alternative fuels (methanol, alcoholgasoline mix, liquid natural gas, propane, and solar power) have intensified (Hass, 1993, p. 50). The South
Point Alternative Fuel Project is designed to compare the merits of each fuel over a 24month period (Hass, 1993, p. 50). The project involves a Federal Express Corporation vehicle fleet located in Southern California. A total of 22 vans constitute the experimental segment of the fleet, while 27 vans powered by gasoline comprise the control segment. Fuel costs per mile, emission levels, maintenance problems, and refitting costs are being assessed in the project.
Although this current study fo...