Alternative Fuels: Incompletely Addressing the Problems of the Automobile

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Virginia Tech


The inordinate reliance of the United States on the automobile for transportation causes a number of problems for the nation. Finite supplies of petroleum imported from volatile parts of the world place the economy at risk from price spikes and eventual depletion. Pollution from motor vehicle exhaust has public health and environmental consequences.

Many politicians, automotive interest groups, and others advocate for the use of alternative fuels to replace fossil fuels. This paper investigates the advantages and disadvantages of the following: Natural Gas, Ethanol, Biodiesel, Hydrogen Fuel Cells, and Hybrid Gasoline Electric Systems.

The paper concludes with a discussion of the problems associated with the automobile that will not be addressed through a movement towards alternative fuels: urban sprawl, transportation equity, environmental degradation, and public health.



Hydrogen, Biodiesel, Hybrid, Fuel Cell, Natural Gas, Ethanol, Alternative Fuels