The History of Using Alternative Fuels

Author: Jason / Date: April 11, 2023 / Tags: fuel

1924 Doble Model E steam car

( – You might be surprised to know alternative fuels have been used for cars in the past. In fact, before gasoline became the dominant fuel for cars in the early 20th century, a variety of alternative fuels were used, including steam, electricity, and biofuels!

Steam-powered cars were among the earliest automobiles, and they were quite popular in the late 19th century. These cars were powered by steam generated by burning coal or wood, and they were known for their power and speed. However, they were also expensive to operate and required a lot of maintenance.

Electric cars were also quite popular in the early days of the automobile. They were quiet, efficient, and easy to operate, and they were favored by urban residents who didn’t want to deal with the noise and pollution of gasoline-powered cars. However, the limited range of electric cars (due to the low energy density of batteries at the time) made them impractical for longer trips.

Biofuels, such as ethanol and vegetable oil, were also used in early cars. In fact, Henry Ford’s first cars were designed to run on ethanol, and Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine, originally envisioned his engine running on peanut oil. However, the discovery of large reserves of petroleum and the development of refining technology that made gasoline cheaper and more widely available led to the dominance of gasoline-powered cars.

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