Top Five Reasons to Use Alternative Fuels

By Lori Weaver, About.com Guide

Making the Switch to Biofuels Pays Off in Several Ways

Green energy used to be the poster child of a fringe crowd, but not any longer. Today, average consumers are considering greener alternatives to meet their energy needs, whether for fueling their vehicles of heating their homes. But why make the switch? There are a number of reasons alternative fuels can be an excellent fit for your lifestyle, both in direct and indirect ways. With the trend toward greener living, the opportunity to make the switch to alternative fuels is greater than it has ever been.

1. Waste Not

It used to be that when you thought of the term “alternative fuel,” you thinking went only to a few standby biofuels. But today, research and development in the biofuels arena is yielding some exciting developments, including the development of biofuels from seed stock that would otherwise be considered waste. Whether waste oil from the food industry, biomass, methane or fibrous crop waste, there seems no end to the source of biofuels. With every American estimated to be producing more than 4.5 pounds of waste each and every day, the idea that something as worthwhile as a fuel could come out of a waste product is very inviting. It’s a great way to counter the more than 236 million tons of trash generated annually.

2. Be Kind to Mother Earth

It may sound cliche, but there is great need to be kinder to Planet Earth. Global warming is considered to be a true threat by 98 percent of scientists. If every consumer did his or her part to reduce the negative environmental impacts on Earth, there is hope to at least slow catastrophic environmental trends if not reverse them. Every day, we expect the Earth to provide us with food, water and air yet we do little in return to support this effort that gives us life. The use of alternative fuels, wherever possible, may seem like a small gesture, but it starts with one person. If the trend toward alternative fuels grows, the impact is magnified.

3. Help a Farmer

Sure, farmers provide us with food. But these days, more and more farmers, ranchers and growers are becoming involved–either directly or indirectly–in the production of biofuels. Their innovative agriculture methods are helping to contribute to a green industry that provides you with the opportunity to choose biofuels over fossil fuels. Biofuels that rely on crops grown and processed locally help to support rural economies and farm families. Farmer-owned cooperatives are created to market biofuels, putting the power back in the hands of individual farmers rather than large corporations.

4. Reduce Reliance on Foreign Oil

There has been growing concern over the reliance on foreign oil that is at the foundation of the U.S. economy. Clashes over globally sourced energy has meant dependence on other countries rather than America’s own economy. The chance for disputes, artificially inflated pricing, and sporadic supplies can raise havoc and may be avoided with increased production of U.S.-based biofuels. Demand for these biofuels can also give a boost to rural economies, providing support for the economy overall.

5. Wide Selection

Alternative fuels are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. If you have been exposed to the idea of biodiesel for jet engines and thus believe that alternative fuels have no place in your daily life, you might be surprised to learn about the large variety of alternative fuels and applications that can fit into a greener lifestyle. From electric vehicles to solar energy for home heating, the choices you make on a daily basis can provide you with the opportunity to choose an alternative fuel. Even if you drive a conventional car, you can choose ethanol blends, for instance. You would be surprised at how easy it is to fit alternative fuels into your everyday life.