The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released a report that details how much, and what types, of alternative fuels vehicles consumed in 2011 and how these consumption levels compare with previous years.
The EIA stated that overall consumption of alternative fuels increased nearly 13% in 2011, which is a total of 515,920 thousand gasoline-equivalent gallons. In 2010, by comparison, consumption was 457,755 thousand gasoline-equivalent gallons.
The consumption of ethanol (E85) increased 52% from 90,323 thousand gasoline-equivalent gallons in 2010 up to 137,165 thousand gasoline-equivalent gallons in 2011, which EIA said is due to a larger number of vehicles capable of running on E85. Vehicle types contributing to the increase in use of E85 include medium-duty vans, which have a greater impact on consumption.
Next, biodiesel saw a huge increase in use, with the number of gasoline-equivalent gallons used increasing nearly 240% between 2010 and 2011, largely due to the reinstatement of the biodiesel tax credit and requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Use of electricity in light-duty vehicles increased by nearly 36%, with a total consumption level of 7,635 thousand gasoline-equivalent gallons in 2011 compared to 4,847 thousand gasoline-equivalent gallons in 2010. EIA said that although the majority of electric vehicles in use is still in the low-speed vehicle category (45,397 are this type, out of a total 67,296 electric vehicles in use 2011), the inventory of automobiles powered by electricity increased to 10,245 in 2011, mainly in the number of vehicles owned by individual households.