Glossary

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  XYZ

Search glossary terms:    

Browse terms related to these fuel groups:   alternative fuels    coal     electricity     natural gas     nuclear     petroleum    renewable

alternative fuels

Aftermarket converted vehicle:  A standard conventionally fueled, factory-produced vehicle to which equipment has been added that enables the vehicle to operate on alternative fuel.

Aftermarket vehicle converter:  An organization or individual that modifies OEM vehicles after first use or sale to operate on a different fuel (or fuels).

Alternative fuel:  Alternative fuels, for transportation applications, include the following:

  • methanol
  • denatured ethanol, and other alcohols
  • fuel mixtures containing 85 percent or more by volume of methanol, denatured ethanol, and other alcohols with gasoline or other fuels
  • natural gas
  • liquefied petroleum gas (propane)
  • hydrogen
  • coal-derived liquid fuels
  • fuels (other than alcohol) derived from biological materials (biofuels such as soy diesel fuel)
  • electricity (including electricity from solar energy)
"... any other fuel the Secretary determines, by rule, is substantially not petroleum and would yield substantial energy security benefits and substantial environmental benefits." The term "alternative fuel" does not include alcohol or other blended portions of primarily petroleum-based fuels used as oxygenates or extenders, i.e. MTBE, ETBE, other ethers, and the 10-percent ethanol portion of gasohol.

Alternative fuel vehicle converter:  An organization (including companies, government agencies and utilities), or individual that performs conversions involving alternative fuel vehicles. An AFV converter can convert (1) conventionally fueled vehicles to AFVs, (2) AFVs to conventionally fueled vehicles, or (3) AFVs to use another alternative fuel.

Alternative-fuel vehicle (AFV):  A vehicle designed to operate on an alternative fuel (e.g., compressed natural gas, methane blend, electricity). The vehicle could be either a dedicated vehicle designed to operate exclusively on alternative fuel or a nondedicated vehicle designed to operate on alternative fuel and/or a traditional fuel.

Conversion company:  An organization that performs vehicle conversions on a commercial basis.

Converted (alternative-fuel) vehicle:  A vehicle originally designed to operate on gasoline/diesel that was modified or altered to run on an alternative fuel after its initial delivery to an end-user.

Dedicated vehicle:  A vehicle that operates only on an alternative fuel, as when a vehicle is configured to operate on compressed natural gas. Note: A vehicle powered by an electric motor is not to be treated as dedicated.

Dual fuel vehicle (1):  A motor vehicle that is capable of operating on an alternative fuel and on gasoline or diesel fuel. These vehicles have at least two separate fuel systems which inject each fuel simultaneously into the engine combustion chamber.

Dual fuel vehicle (2):  A motor vehicle that is capable of operating on an alternative fuel and on gasoline or diesel fuel. This term is meant to represent all such vehicles whether they operate on the alternative fuel and gasoline/diesel simultaneously (e.g., flexible-fuel vehicles) or can be switched to operate on gasoline/diesel or an alternative fuel (e.g., bi-fuel vehicles).

E85:  A fuel containing a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. See Motor gasoline (finished).

E95:   A fuel containing a mixture of 95 percent ethanol and 5 percent gasoline

Ethanol (C2H5OH):  A clear, colorless, flammable alcohol. Ethanol is typically produced biologically from biomass feedstocks such as agricultural crops and cellulosic residues from agricultural crops or wood. Ethanol can also be produced chemically from ethylene. See Biomass, Fuel Ethanol, and Fuel Ethanol Minus Denaturant.

Fleet vehicle:  Any motor vehicle a company owns or leases that is in the normal operations of a company. Vehicles which are used in the normal operation of a company, but are owned by company employees are not fleet vehicles. If a company provides services in addition to providing natural gas, only those vehicles that are used by the natural gas provider portion of a company should be counted as fleet vehicles. Vehicles that are considered "off-road" (e.g., farm or construction vehicles) or demonstration vehicles are not to be counted as fleet vehicles. Fleet vehicles include gasoline/diesel powered vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles.

Flexible fuel vehicle:  A vehicle that can operate on

  1. alternative fuels (such as M85 or E85)
  2. 100-percent petroleum-based fuels
  3. any mixture of an alternative fuel (or fuels) and a petroleum-based fuel.
Flexible fuel vehicles have a single fuel system to handle alternative and petroleum-based fuels.
Flexible fuel vehicle and variable fuel vehicle are synonymous terms.

Fuel ethanol:  Ethanol intended for fuel use. Fuel ethanol in the United States must be anhydrous (less than 1 percent water). Fuel ethanol is denatured (made unfit for human consumption), usually prior to transport from the ethanol production facility, by adding 2 to 5 volume percent petroleum, typically pentanes plus or conventional motor gasoline. Fuel ethanol is used principally for blending in low concentrations with motor gasoline as an oxygenate or octane enhancer. In high concentrations, it is used to fuel alternative-fuel vehicles specially designed for its use. See Alternative-Fuel Vehicle, Denaturant, E85, Ethanol, Fuel Ethanol Minus Denaturant, and Oxygenates.

Gasohol:  A blend of finished motor gasoline containing alcohol (generally ethanol but sometimes methanol) at a concentration between 5.7 percent and 10 percent by volume. Also see Oxygenates.

Methanol (CH3OH):  A light, volatile alcohol eligible for gasoline blending.

Methanol blend:  Mixtures containing 85 percent or more (or such other percentage, but not less than 70 percent) by volume of methanol with gasoline. Pure methanol is considered an "other alternative fuel."

Nondedicated vehicle:  A motor vehicle capable of operating on an alternative fuel and /or on either gasoline or diesel.

Nonroad alternative fuel vehicle (nonroad AFV):  An alternative fuel vehicle designed for off-road operation and use for surface/air transportation, industrial, or commercial purposes. Nonroad AFVs include forklifts and other industrial vehicles, rail locomotives, self-propelled electric rail cars, aircraft, airport service vehicles, construction vehicles, agricultural vehicles, and marine vessels. Recreational AFVs (golf carts, snow mobiles, pleasure watercraft, etc.) are excluded from the definition.

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM):  A company that provides the original design and materials for manufacture and engages in the assembly of vehicles. The OEM is directly responsible for manufacturing, marketing, and providing warranties for the finished product.

Original equipment manufacturer vehicle:  A vehicle produced and marketed by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), including gasoline and diesel vehicles as well as alternative-fuel vehicles. A vehicle manufactured by an OEM but converted to an alternative-fuel vehicle before its initial delivery to an end-user (for example, through a contract between a conversion company and the OEM) is considered to be an OEM vehicle as long as that vehicle is still covered under the OEM's warranty.

Oxygenated gasoline (includes Gasohol):  Finished motor gasoline, other than reformulated gasoline, having an oxygen content of 1.8 percent or higher by weight. This includes gasohol irrespective of where it is consumed.

Note: Oxygenated gasoline excludes oxygenated fuels program reformulated gasoline (OPRG) and reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending (RBOB).

Oxygenates:  Substances which, when added to gasoline, increase the amount of oxygen in that gasoline blend. Fuel ethanol, Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE), Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (ETBE), and methanol are common oxygenates.

Variable fuel vehicle:  See Flexible fuel vehicle.