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There are nearly 100 registered gasoline-powered vehicles for every electric vehicle (EV) in the US. But the growth rate for some alternative-powered vehicles is higher than that of gasoline-powered vehicles, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE).

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The number of registered gasoline-powered vehicles increased by 3.5% per 10,000 people from 2020 to 2022 — but the number of electric vehicles on the road grew 135% during the same period.

However, many cars are fueled by alternatives to electricity.

What are alternative fuels?

Alternative fuels generally refer to any fuels other than gasoline or diesel derived from crude oil. Alternative-fuel vehicles could be hybrid-electric or powered by biodiesel, ethanol, propane, natural gas, or hydrogen. Alternative fuels have to meet federal quality and environmental standards.

Alternative fuels are mostly comprised of gaseous fuels (such as hydrogen or propane), alcohols (such as ethanol or methanol), vegetable-derived oils, or electricity, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Vehicles can run exclusively on alternative fuels, or can have a mixed system of alternative and conventional fuels, like hybrid-electric vehicles.

The three most common alternative fuels in registered vehicles in 2022 were ethanol/flex fuel at nearly 20.9 million, hybrid electric at about 6.3 million, and biodiesel at 2.5 million.

How many vehicles in the US use alternative fuels vs. gasoline?

Thirty-three million vehicles across the US use alternative fuels[1] — that’s 12% of the 282 million light-duty vehicles on the road, according to the Department of Energy.

The states with the largest populations (California, Texas, and Florida) have the highest vehicle counts for six of the 10 vehicle fuel types tracked by the DOE. Analyzing the number of vehicles registered for every 10,000 residents can provide context.

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Fuel type use by state

Gasoline is still the most-used fuel in the US, but a combination of fuels are available in various spots throughout the nation. With everything from flex-fuel vehicles in North Dakota to hydrogen-powered cars in California in the US, old and emerging technologies are powering thousands of vehicles. What’s most popular depends on the state.

Where does this data come from?

The Department of Energy provides data visualization tools with data from registration counts derived by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Experian Information Solutions.

Learn more about electric vehicles and emissions and the fuel efficiency of vehicles in America, and get the data directly in your inbox by signing up for our email newsletter.

Vehicle Registration Counts by State
Alternative Fuels Data Center
Last updated
July 26, 2023

These numbers do not account for the 1.7 million vehicles for which the fuel type was unknown.