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Infographic: Does more alternative fuel vehicles mean less gas consumption?

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A new report found that greater availability of potential AFVs didn't necessarily translate into a greener fleet.

The number of alternatives to gas guzzlers is increasing steadily, although a big chunk of that growth is due to the efforts of government and big corporations in a small handful of states.

For instance, over a quarter of the alternative fuel vehicle fleet, which include electric, natural gas, ethanol and biodiesel, can be found in California and Texas, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Despite such disparity, the overall boost in AFVs is at least somewhat encouraging, with the latest tally showing that total inventory of AFVs in fleets in 2009 was about 826,318, up about 7% from 2008.

Here is a breakdown of how five states account  for 40 percent of all AFVs:

  • California (16% of all U.S. AFVs)
  • Texas (11%)
  • Arizona (5%)
  • Florida (4%)
  • North Carolina (4%)

The numbers, however, don't tell the entire story. The report also found that greater availability of potential AFVs didn't necessarily translate into a greener fleet. In fact, the vast majority of AFVs owned by individuals ended up relying on traditional fuels (gasoline and diesel) primarily do to the lack of access to alternative transportation fuels, specifically ethanol.

The sobering truth here is that while putting more AFVs on the road may look good on paper -- especially for companies touting their green fleets -- it's only half the equation. The infrastructure simply needs to be in place.

(via U.S. Energy Information Administration)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure