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Environmental Impact of Alternative Fuels and Vehicle Technologies: A Life Cycle Assessment Perspect

Nowadays a wide range of options of vehicles fuels and technologies are commercially available. Still, the complicated nature of environmental impacts caused by each option makes it a tough decision for the consumer, fleet manager, or policy maker to find the best choice. Even policy makers may run into trouble regarding the relative advantages of cleaner options and their relative effects on fuel and vehicle cycle. In light of these, the present paper is an attempt to evaluate the life cycle environmental impacts of road vehicle fuels and available technologies and compare the cleaner options with each other and the main stream fuel/technologies. A complete fuel life cycle assessment (LCA) on petrol, diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and Liquid to Compressed Natural Gas (LCNG) vehicles was made. Results are shown for climate change, air quality effects and Energy resource depletion impact of the different vehicle technologies. As recommended by the results, none of the options dominated the others regarding all dimensions. Instead of mandating a particular solution, such as electric cars or biofuels, probably successful vehicle and fuel policies include established standards of performance and levies to attenuate emissions and let the market to find the best effective alternative.

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