Geography of Existing and Potential Alternative Fuel Markets in the United States

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


When deploying alternative fuels, it is paramount to match the right fuel with the right location, in accordance with local market conditions. We used six market indicators to evaluate the existing and potential regional market health for each of the five most commonly deployed alternative fuels: electricity (used by plug-in electric vehicles), biodiesel (blends of B20 and higher), E85 ethanol, compressed natural gas (CNG), and propane. Each market indicator was mapped, combined, and evaluated by industry experts. This process revealed the weight the market indicators should be given, with the proximity of fueling stations being the most important indicator, followed by alternative fuel vehicle density, gasoline prices, state incentives, nearby resources, and finally, environmental benefit. Though markets vary among states, no state received 'weak' potential for all five fuels, indicating that all states have an opportunity to use at least one alternative fuel. California, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Washington appear to have the best potential markets for alternative fuels in general, with each sporting strong markets for four of the fuels. Wyoming showed the least potential, with weak markets for all alternative fuels except for CNG, for which it has a patchy market. Of all the fuels, CNG is promising in the greatest number of states--largely because freight traffic provides potential demand for many far-reaching corridor markets and because the sources of CNG are so widespread geographically.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages40
StatePublished - 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5400-60891


  • alternative fuel vehicles
  • biodiesel
  • CNG
  • deployment
  • E85
  • electric
  • ethanol
  • EV
  • EVSE
  • geography
  • logistics
  • markets
  • natural gas
  • propane
  • stations


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