This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 03, 2004

EIA Releases New Statistics on Alternative-Fueled Vehicles

DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) issued its newest compilation of statistics on the use of alternative fuels and alternative-fuel vehicles on February 26th. According to EIA, the alternative fuels used in 2002 were equivalent to more than 378 million gallons of gasoline, and the estimated alternative-fuel use for this year will be equal to more than 447 million gallons of gasoline. Meanwhile, the use of ethanol as a gasoline additive was equivalent to 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline in 2002, and is projected to increase to the equivalent of more than 2 billion gallons of gasoline this year. The EIA figures show a surge in the use of biodiesel, increasing from the equivalent of 6.8 million gallons of gasoline in 2000 to the equivalent of nearly 17 million gallons of gasoline in 2002, and projected to reach the equivalent of about 36.6 million gallons of gasoline this year. Total fuel consumption of all types was equivalent to nearly 170 billion gallons of gasoline in 2002, and is projected to increase to more than 177 billion gallons this year.

The EIA estimates that some 4.5 million vehicles on U.S. roads in 2002 were capable of being fueled with alternative fuels (mainly E85, an ethanol-rich mixture of ethanol and gasoline), but unfortunately, less than 500,000 were actually fueled with something other than gasoline blends or diesel fuel. The EIA projects that more than 547,000 U.S. vehicles will be fueled with alternative fuels this year. See the EIA's "Alternative to Traditional Transportation Fuels 2003 - Estimated Data."

EIA's report follows a recent decision by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to extend fuel-economy credits for the sale of alternative-fueled vehicles through Model Year 2008. The credits allow carmakers to increase their fuel economy requirements by up to 0.9 miles per gallon through the sale of alternative-fueled vehicles. See the NHTSA press release.