Utilization of alternative fuels in the transportation sector has been identified as a potential method for mitigation of petroleum-based energy dependence and pollutant emissions from mobile sources. Traditionally, vehicle tailpipe emissions have served as sole data when evaluating environmental impact. However, considerable differences in extraction and processing requirements for alternative fuels makes evident the need to consider the complete fuel production and use cycle for each fuel scenario. The work presented here provides a case study applied to the southeastern region of the United States for conventional gasoline, reformulated gasoline, natural gas, and methanol vehicle fueling. Results of the study demonstrate the significance of the nonvehicle processes, such as fuel refining, in terms of energy expenditure and emissions production. Unique to this work is the application of the MOBILE5 mobile emissions model in the full-fuel-cycle analysis. Estimates of direct and indirect green-house gas production are also presented and discussed using the full-cycle-analysis method.

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