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Energy is omnipresent. It is what drives us, and what makes us stop. It is everywhere. However, what we required for our "man-made" contraptions to function is nonrenewable energy or fuel. At least, this is how it has been so far. The world has been on the brink of an energy crisis, and the effects of our current energy sources on the environment are increasing rapidly. In the light of this fact, we have seen alternative fuels come into play. Like every new aspect in society is controversial with its pros and cons, so is the case with alternative fuels.

Definition

Alternative fuels are the fuels that can be used to create energy for use, that are not a part of the conventional fuels such as fossil fuels, coal, propane, and natural gas. Most of the conventional fuels are non-renewable. Alternative fuels include biodiesel, bioalcohol, chemically stored electricity (like batteries and fuel cells), non-fossil methane, vegetable oil, non-fossil natural gas, and other fuels from biomass sources. These fuels have brought about a renaissance of sorts, in creation and usage of fuels. Another fact about them is that they are mostly renewable and have a better impact on the environment as compared to the conventional fuels.

Positives
  • First and foremost, alternative fuels are cleaner burning fuels, which produce less pollution or have a reduced impact on the environment. The burning of conventional fuels causes significant damage to the environment, as they emit carbon dioxide during combustion. Furthermore, conventional fuels are expected to dry up in the near future, which is the reason why alternative fuels are being improved to assure the continuance of energy.
  • The counterproductive elements that are created due to the use of conventional fuels are void when it comes to alternative fuels; they do not emit poisonous or harmful byproducts.
  • When used in vehicles, many of these fuels have shown improvements in mileage. In fact, in case of hybrid vehicles that make use of them, the mileage has shown hikes of 20% over a period of time.
  • The governments of many countries, in an attempt to encourage the use of alternative fuels for energy saving, are offering tax incentives for using them.
Negatives
  • They are far away from being freely available; very few stations have an alternative fuel option. As such, using these fuels comes with its set of difficulties.
  • Due to their problem with respect to availability, they are expensive. This is the reason why many people are dissuaded from making the switch.