An alternative fuel vehicle refers to a motor vehicle that uses fuel sources other than traditional petroleum fuels like petrol or petrodiesel. This can include technologies like electric cars, hybrid electric vehicles, and solar-powered vehicles that do not solely rely on petroleum to power their engines. As concerns around the environment, high oil prices, and the possibility of peak oil continue to rise, governments and vehicle manufacturers are increasingly prioritizing the development of cleaner alternative fuels and advanced power systems for vehicles.
Gasoline/petrol-powered engines emerged in the 1860s and 1870s and eventually dominated earlier “alternative” engines powered by steam, gas, or electricity. Although hybrid electric vehicles like the Toyota Prius are not strictly considered alternative fuel vehicles, they use advanced electric battery and motor/generator technologies to make more efficient use of petroleum fuel.