How much do you know about alternative fuels?

A transport revolution is underway with the adoption of battery-powered electric vehicles. Although they’re new to us, there’s nothing radical about using a fuel that isn’t petrol or diesel. But how much do you know about alternative fuels? Take our crafty quiz to find out.

There have been all sorts of alternative fuels for cars over the years. But how much do you know about them? (Picture iStock/SimonSkafar)


Well done! This was a tricky test of both historical and current motoring knowledge and you passed it with flying colours.

Don’t worry. There were some mind-bendingly difficult questions in this. We hope you learnt some interesting trivia.

#1. Government forecasts said there would be 65 hydrogen filling stations in the UK by 2020. How many are there?

Despite overwhelmingly positive public tests of hydrogen cars, in January 2022 there are just 13 hydrogen filling stations in the UK.

#2. Which was the first car maker in the 2000s to sell a mass-produced hydrogen car?

It was Honda’s FCX Clarity which went on sale in 2008.

#3. To the nearest 100, in January 2022, how many electric car charging points were in the UK?

According to Zap-Map, in January 2022, there were 48,736 charging points in the UK.

#4. Who was the first US president to have a hydrogen-powered car in his inauguration parade?

President Jimmy Carter had a hydrogen-powered Cadillac Seville in his inauguration parade in 1977.

#5. Is it possible to run a car on fresh air?

Actually it is possible. Peugeot revealed a concept version of its 208 hatchback that used compressed air as a fuel in 2014. It was a hybrid system with air power to supplement and occasionally replace petrol.

#6. The current world record for a steam powered car is…

It’s actually 139.8mph and it’s held by a British steam car called Inspiration. It broke the 103-year old world record for steam cars in 2009.

#7. You could power a car using wood

It’s true. During the 1930s there were around 9,000 wood-powered cars on the road in Europe. The number increased dramatically in World War Two when regular fuel was scarce. Wood was burnt and converted into a gas which was then fed into the combustion engine.

#8. During the World Wars, cars were converted to have massive bags of fuel on the roof. What did these contain?

They contained street or coal gas. The bags were made gas tight, then filled with coal gas by hosepipe from domestic outlets. Safety first!

#9. When was an electric car first presented to the public?

The first ever electric car was shown to the public at an International electricity show in Paris during 1881. It was a three-wheeler and its designer was Gustave Trouvé. (Picture: Bibliothèque Nationale de France/Jacques Cattelin)

#10. The Indy Racing League series used which alternative fuel in the mid-2000s?

It used 100% ethanol which is a by-product of sugar production. The fuel it now uses is 85% ethanol but although available in the US, the fuel hasn’t caught on with the public.


2 comments on “How much do you know about alternative fuels?

  1. 31/05/2022 5:36 PM

    Thank you very much. Great quiz. Only 2 right answers. Have to make tea since I lost!

  2. Robert Murphy 11/06/2022 2:05 PM


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