Browse Publications Technical Papers 2000-01-1482
2000-04-26

Alternative Fuel Vehicles: Environmental and Economic Effects of Infrastructural Requirements 2000-01-1482

This paper summarizes some of the environmental and economic requirements of providing the infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) at a large scale in the U.S. Major components of the necessary infrastructure are fuel extraction and processing plants, and fuel storage, transportation, distribution and retail systems. The type of fuel, market penetration rates, economies of scale, timely availability, longevity, and refueling mode are key to the assessment of the necessary infrastructure. Some of the infrastructure is already in place, while substantial investments will still be needed. Alcohol fuels could utilize components of the current infrastructure, with modifications, but natural gas and electric vehicles would require substantial new investments into the infrastructure. Even if a significant number of refueling stations will have to be built, the amount of embodied energy investment is estimated to be relatively small compared to the service life of the facility, the number of vehicles it will service, and the amount of fuel consumed in the U.S.

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