Alternatives to Gasoline

Electric cars 2019 motor world

The world's oils supplies are quickly diminishing, and with so many households owning more cars that the number of people they contain, the demand for alternative methods of fuelling transport is ever increasing. Here is a brief insight into some alternatives that are currently on the market and the benefits of using them.

Alcohol or Ethanol

This is made using distilled crops such as corn, barley or wheat. These are renewable sources, although are sometimes blended with petroleum to improve emissions and increase octane levels. Where food sources are used to create this fuel, food prices can potentially increase and availability of them could potentially decrease, so it doesn't come without a price.


Electric cars are effectively refuelled by charging a battery, and there is already an extensive electric network installed in many countries. Electric cars are by far the greenest mode of private transportation, despite the fact that a lot of the electricity is produced using natural gas, coal or oil. If electric cars run on fuel cells, they do not rely on combustion and therefore do not create emissions that harm the environment.

These are the new electric vehicles coming later this 2019: Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Mini Electric, BMW i3, Nissan Leaf e+, Porsche Taycan, Kia Niro EV, Volvo all-electric XC40, Hyundai Kona Electric, The $35,000 Tesla.


This alternative fuel is made using vegetable oils or animal fats, occasionally recycled from restaurants after they have finished cooking with them. It can come in either it's pure form or be combined with petroleum, the product of which can even be used in unmodified engines.


Certain internal combustion engines can use a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas as an alternative fuel. The positive of this method is that there are no harmful emissions, however it is a very expensive method to use and there is no real infrastructure in most places to support this system. The power is created using a reaction between the hydrogen and the oxygen.


Sometimes referred to as liquified petroleum gas or LPG, this byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining is also used for cooking and heating. It does produce harmful emissions, although less than gasoline, although one of the major disadvantages is the excess of methane which is very harmful to our atmosphere and the rise in global warming issues.

Natural Gas

Like propane, natural gas produces high levels of methane, although overall it produces less harmful emissions than petroleum or diesel. It is quite easily accessible in countries that use it frequently in households for cooking and heating.


The most popular alternative to petroleum is diesel. Diesel engines are considered more efficient and require less maintenance than gas engines. Over time, the development of diesel engines has reduced excess noise that was initially quite a large problem. Diesel engines tend to deliver 25 - 30% better fuel economy. Diesel used to be cheaper than petroleum, however now the prices have risen and they are often much the same per a litre, and as the demand for diesel increases due to more consumers using it for heating and transportation, the price will only rise. Diesel still omits harmful emissions to the atmosphere and is not a long term solution for the shortage on petrol.

Volkswagen Camper Bus

Volkswagen Camper Bus

Officially labelled the Volkswagen Type 2, the VW Camper has become renowned all over the world as an iconic image of both the worlds of travelling and automobiles. Following the Type 1, more commonly known as the Volkswagen Beetle, this was the second car model to be produced by Volkswagen and was introduced in 1950. Production of the Type 2 ceased in December 2013 in Brazil which contained the last factory to produce the vehicle. The end of it's production marks the last production of rear-engined Volkswagens.

The idea to create a van came about when a dutch man named Ben Pon visited Wolfsburg in 1946 with the intention of importing Volkswagen Type 1s to the Netherlands, but decided something better could be designed using some of the parts he saw in the factory. He sketched a design in 1947, and when the factory had the capacity to create more automobiles, the Type 2 started it's journey to becoming the camper van we know and love today.

The original prototypes had bad aerodynamics, and so after some tests the windshield and roofline were split into the iconic V shape to reduce wind resistance, but otherwise the design stuck fairly closely to the original sketch. in 1951 Volkswagen produced an ambulance using the Type 2, repositioning the fuel tank and adding a spare tire and tailgate rear door, which became standard features in the 1955 to 1967 revisions. The Type 2 was one of the first commercial vehicles to place the driver in front off the front axis, which is a configuration referred to as “forward control” and was adapted by several other companies such as Ford, Dodge and Citroën. There have been many different designs since it's initiation into the market, and the Type 5 Volkswagen Van was even based on many of the same features.

It became extremely popular in the 1960s amongst the hippie counter culture and is still seen as a hippie icon today. It is frequently used in brochures to promote travel and road trips as well as music and festivals, and has immersed itself amongst many different cultures throughout modern history. There are even tents available that mimic the design of the camper bus for those who are unable to afford the car itself but still want the camping experience of sleeping inside one.

In January 2017, Volkswagen revealed intentions to reintroduce the Volkswagen bus to the market, featuring the distinctive two tone design and diverting away from the traditional gas engine to be powered instead by two electric motors. Other concepts included the ability to drive fully autonomously after the driver pushed a button that would retract the steering wheel into the cockpit allowing the car to take over using a combination of laser scanners, radar sensors and cameras to monitor activity on the road, an augmented reality dashboard that can hook up to the drivers smartphone, and a range of 373 miles. The Grand California (in the photo) is expected to become available around 2020, but it has not been confirmed whether or not the car will actually go into production. Currently in 2019 the most similar options from VW are Caravelle and California, two awesome rides.

Benefits of using Diesel

Benefits of using Diesel

In Europe, diesel cars make up about 50% of the total cars on the road, however only about 3% in the US. While petrol engines rely on ignition and a spark to create velocity, diesel engines use compression. Air is drawn into the motor and subjected to high compression as it heats up.

The fuel emits less carbon dioxide gas, which is the main contributor to greenhouse gasses creating a global warming problem. The engines do, however, produce higher amounts of nitrogen oxide which can be linked to serious health hazards and also produces more smog.

The fuel also contains more energy than petrol which means that users tend to acquire 20 - 40% better fuel economy, allowing some diesel cars to travel as far as 700 miles on a single tank of gas, due to being one of the most dense and energy efficient fuels on the market. They even deliver better fuel economy than gasoline-electric hybrid motors. Initially, diesel fuel was a lot cheaper than petrol by the gallon, however prices tend to be roughly the same on today's markets, but providing these higher prices don't succeed the 20-40% margin set by the stronger fuel economy, diesel will remain cheaper overall than traditional gasoline.

The engines are designed to withstand more compression, and therefore, tend to last a lot longer before they require major reparation work than standard petrol engines. Mercedes Benz holds a record for clocking over 900,000 miles on a car's original diesel engine. Engine reliability and lifetime longevity can have serious benefits to trade-in and resale values. When you do have to pay for maintenance, it can be a little more costly as diesel engines tend to include more technology than petrol engines.

Modern diesel engines tend to be faster from a standing start. Because of how the diesel fuel is burned, more torque is provided to the driveshaft. For the same reasons, diesel engines tend to have an increased haulage capacity, making it a popular choice for larger vehicles and for commercial trucking companies. They may be faster off the starting line, but petroleum engines tend to be faster overall, however diesel engines tend to be stronger and more enduring, despite being a little slower.

Technology is constantly improving for diesel engines and they are forever becoming cleaner and emitting lower emissions due to specialised catalytic converters, advanced sisters and other devices cutting down and destroying toxic emissions. These advancements have also eliminated some of the earlier problems with diesel linked to excessive noise problems and have also reduced maintenance costs. They are also less likely to spew black smoke out of the exhaust, which made early users believe the fuel was dirty and worse for the environment than petrol.

Diesel cars retain their value a lot longer than their petroleum counterparts. According to ALG, compact diesel cars held 63% of their value after 36 months, whereas gasoline cars only retained 53%.

Since 2006, every car to win the 24 hour race Le Mans burned diesel instead of petrol, proving it's ability for endurance and longer journeys over petrol cars.

Benefits of driving a Manual

manual gear

With the rise in popularity of automatic cars, the demand for manual transmission vehicles is slowly on the decline. Only 6.5% of cars sold in America use manual transmission, and although this figure is much higher in other countries, automatic cars are steadily increasing in number. While there are a number of legitimate reasons to drive an automatic, there are a few good reasons why a manual transmission might just be better for you.

The biggest argument for owning a manual transmission is the fuel economy. While automatic engines are quickly developing and catching up with their manual counterparts, fuel economy can increase as much as 15% when driving manual. This is due to the additional fuel requirements of the torque converter and hydraulic pump as well as the car not always automatically choosing the most economic gear to drive in. Not only does driving an automatic save you on fuel, the initial price of a car with a manual engine tends to be cheaper than an automatic, especially when looking at the bottom end of the market.

Money aside, a lot of drivers choose to drive a manual for the feel. A lot of people argue they are more fun to drive as the driver is much more involved with how the vehicle operates, but also driving a manual means you have a lot more control over the performance of the car. The driver has the ability to choose the exact gear that is required for the situation, and in some driving conditions it pays to have a higher or lower gear than what an automatic torque converter pushing you forwards chooses for you. It is also much easier to perform an engine brake or to use the momentum of the engine to slow yourself down. The cars tend to be lighter, have less power loss and quicker acceleration and so the performance, when driven properly, is somewhat increased.

Manual drivers also argue that there are less distractions when driving a manual as you have to concentrate more on the operation of the vehicle and so therefore have less capacity to let your mind wander, although it could be argued that with less to do to operate the vehicle, one could concentrate better on what is happening on the road.

Manual cars tend to be cheaper to maintain as their engines are less complicated. The most common aspect to repair is the clutch which often doesn't require maintenance for thousands of miles. Manual engines also use engine oil as opposed to automatic transmission fluid which doesn't deteriorate as quickly and therefore doesn't need to be changed as frequently either.

With less people opting for manual engines, it is becoming rare to see somebody using that third pedal and a gear stick, although this could be to your advantage. In terms of security, there are less people who are able to drive your car and so the chances of it being successfully stolen are lower.

Lastly, for those who are able to drive manual cars and possess a license that allows it, you are also able to drive automatic cars, which doesn't work vice versa. By owning a manual license, you keep your options open should you wish to switch to automatic transmission in the future.