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A new report from the Energy Information Addministration (EIA) says that although gasoline remains, by far, the dominant transportation fuel, the use of alternative fuels currently in use is growing. But, the majority of that usage is by government and private fleets.
These fuels include: electricity, propane, higher ethanol-gasoline blends (E85), hydrogen and natural gas. Altogether there are now about 10,000 alternative fuel stations in the U.S. and about 160,000 gas stations nationwide.
The report notes, for instance, that bio-diesel fuels (which differ in the proportion of petroleum diesel and bio-based fuel) are used primarily in private and government fleets only, and of the 347 private access stations, nearly one-third are in North Carolina.
Similarly, with natural gas, which can be compressed and stored in tanks at pressures up to 3,600 pounds per square inch and used effectively as transportation fuel, more than half of the compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel stations in the nation are for private access only.
There are more than 3,000 electric charging stations currently in operation across the country. Of these, nearly 85 percent are publicly accessible. In total, there are more than 8,000 electric charging units available at these stations... Naturally, this does not include residential electric charging units.
Of all the various fuels EIA covers, hydrogen as a transportation fuel has the fewest number of fuel stations.
Additionally, EIA says liquified natural gas (LNG) is showing an uptick in usage. Because it needs to be stored at -260 degrees Fahrenheit, LNG vehicles require special vacuum-insulated pressure vessels. LNG is typically only used in heavy duty vehicles. EIA says that compared to the number of existing LNG fuel stations, there is a large network of stations planned along interstate highways.
Propane has the second-highest number of fuel stations among alternative fuels. Over 90 percent of existing stations are publicly accessible. Of the private access stations, nearly 60 percent are based in Indiana.
Most alternative fuels require vehicles specifically made to handle that fuel such as electric vehicles. The use of alternative fuels often requires new refueling station infrastructure, and that, in turn, remains a major consumer obstacle to purchasing the vehicles the government desperately wants to push.
To see a U.S. map of alternative fuel infrastructure, click here:
10,000 alternative fuel stations in the U.S.