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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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Compressed natural gas, or CNG
This fuel is just like the natural gas you use to cook or heat your home but compressed into high-pressure fuel cylinders.

Pros:
Made largely from methane, it's not derived from oil.
It burns cleaner than gasoline.
Home refueling from your natural gas line is possible.
Your current car can be converted to run on CNG, but at a significant cost.
Cons:
Few manufacturers make vehicles that will run on it.
The Honda Civic GX, which does run on CNG, costs about $3,500 more than a comparable gas-only Civic.
Refueling stations not widely available, and home refueling can take hours.
Fuel mileage is less than with gasoline.

Liquified natural gas, or LNG
This fuel is natural gas turned into a liquid by refrigerating it to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros:
LNG is made from natural gas, and like CNG, it burns cleaner than gasoline.
Propane refueling stations, while not nearly as prevalent as gas stations, are available in many areas.
Your current car can be converted to run on LNG, but it's costly.
Cons:
Few manufacturers make vehicles that run on it.
Unlike CNG, an LNG car can't be refueled from the home gas line.
Fuel mileage is less than with gasoline.

Hydrogen
Earth's most common element, hydrogen (or hydrogen-rich fuel) can be used -- along with oxygen -- in a device called a "fuel cell" to create electricity.

Pros:
It's the ultimate clean fuel, producing only water vapor.
It can be made from a wide variety of natural elements.
It can be used to make electricity to run cars through a fuel cell, or fuel an internal combustion engine.
Manufacturers say it's the fuel of the future.
Cons:
Except for some experimental vehicles and some hobbyist applications, there are no vehicles yet available that run on hydrogen.
There are potential problems with delivery of the fuel.
It may take more energy to produce hydrogen than gasoline.
Costs and eventual fuel mileage are unknown.
-- Posted: Aug. 1, 2007
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