An Advance Look at the Future of Alternative Energy from 1992

Two experts discuss the future of alternative energy, including alcohol fuels, electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles, propane and hydrogen fuel.

| February/March 1992

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    Alternative energy has been a hot topic for decades. Natural gas, hydrogen and propane may be powering our vehicles in the future.
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    Alternative energy has been a hot topic for decades. Natural gas, hydrogen and propane may be powering our vehicles in the future.
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    Though vital to our future, none of these energy alternatives will totally replace gasoline. At least not in our lifetimes.

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NOTE: This article was written in 1992, and as such, contains information that may or may not still be accurate today. Regardless of whether or not Shawna Tracy and Roberta Stauffer's predictions about the future of alternative energy were accurate, they provide an interesting peek into the alternative energy discussions of the early 1990s.





Will freedom from oil dependency happen in our lifetime? 

Right now, more than 500 million motor vehicles around the world are polluting the atmosphere — spewing emissions equivalent to their weight each year. They foul our air and poison our rain, and are also a major contributor to the global-warming effect, which is dramatically altering the world's climate. Americans consume approximately 226 million gallons of gasoline each day. That's 82 billion gallons each year, 60 percent of the world's total oil consumption. And as the crises of the past year — political and environmental — have shown us, we need new options.

Some answers will be found in a combination of alternative-fuel vehicles and more efficient conventional cars. Technology already exists to power vehicles using alcohol fuels, electricity, natural gas, propane and hydrogen. And vehicles using these propellants are beginning to show up on the road today in convened fleet vehicles such as buses, delivery vans and utility trucks.

And as cities like Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Houston and Phoenix scramble to comply with the Clean Air Act legislation, we'll see more fleets — as well as personal cars — converted in the next few years. Even more impetus will come from the 1988 Alternative Motor Fuels Act, intended to increase use of alcohol fuels and natural gas as energy sources and to spur the production of vehicles designed to run on them.

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