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Bankrate's 2007 New Car Guide
Going green
Environmental concerns are bringing major changes -- right down to the cars we drive.
Going green
Alternative fuels: Is help on the way?
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Diesel
These vehicles run on diesel fuel that, like gasoline, is a petroleum derivative produced in the refining process.

Pros:
Depending on market conditions, diesel fuel can cost less per gallon than gasoline.
Diesel-powered vehicles generally get higher fuel mileage than gasoline vehicles.
Diesels tend to go longer between major overhauls.
Cons:
Because of some tailpipe-emission problems, most diesel passenger cars aren't available in California and the Northeast region.
Only a few manufacturers -- Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Jeep -- offer diesel passenger cars in the U.S.
Diesel fuel is not always available.

Biodiesel fuel
These vehicles run on this clean-burning fuel made from renewable resources, such as soybean oil, blended with petroleum diesel.

Pros:
Cleaner-burning than petroleum-based diesel fuel.
It's made essentially from vegetable oil, so it's a renewable resource and biodegradable.
It can run in almost any diesel engine.
Cons:
It's not widely available.
It costs significantly more than regular diesel fuel.

E85 ethanol fuel
Some vehicles run on this clean-burning fuel usually made from corn and blended with gasoline.

Pros:
It's a blend of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol, an alcohol-based fuel that, in the U.S., is made from corn.
It burns cleaner than straight gasoline and requires less oil to make.
Cons:
It contains only about 72 percent of the energy of regular gasoline, so you get fewer miles per gallon.
It costs about the same as straight gasoline
It is only available at 620 stations, mostly in the Midwest.
It is not available to the public in some states, such as New York, Florida, Texas, and the Northeastern states, but may be in the future. Only one station sells it to the public in California.

M85 methanol fuel
Most methanol fuel in the U.S. is sold as a blend of 85 percent methanol with 15 percent unleaded premium gasoline.

Pros:
It is similar to E85 ethanol. M85 methanol can be used in the same vehicles that will also run on E85.
M85 is made from natural gas or coal, the most abundant form of energy in the U.S.; it can reduce reliance on oil imports.
It has historically been used at the Indianapolis 500.
Cons:
Costs per gallon are higher than with gasoline or E85 ethanol fuels.
Vehicles get fewer miles per gallon on methanol.
Methanol is less widely available than E85 ethanol.
-- Posted: Aug. 1, 2007
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