Out of Gas: The Alternative Fuels Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

While gas has long been the most popular way to power a vehicle, it's no longer the only option for drivers looking to save money, conserve resources or protect the planet. Take our quiz to see how much you know about alternative fuels.

What year was the electric car invented?

An Iowa chemist named William Morrison invented the first electric car in 1890. It was essentially an electric carriage that could reach top speeds of 14 miles per hour (23 kilometers per hour).


True or false: New York City had a fleet of electric taxis way back in the 19th century.

New York had at least 60 electric taxis in 1897. All were powered by batteries, which were swapped out between shifts to charge so the cars could run all day.


What percentage of cars in the U.S. in 1900 were electric rather than gas-powered?

One-third of all cars in the U.S. in 1900 were electric. This was largely due to the fact that gas vehicles were tough to drive and used a crank starter.


How fast could the hybrid-electric Lohner-Porsche Elektromobil travel when it was introduced in 1900?

The hybrid-electric vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche — yes, that Porsche — had a range of 38 miles and could reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour.


What year did Ford release its Model T, which spelled the beginning of the end for electric cars?

Ford produced the Model T from 1908 to 1927. Thanks to assembly-line efficiency, the price of the vehicle plummeted from $850 to $300 during that period.


How much did an electric roadster cost in 1912?

While a gas vehicle could be bought for just $650 in 1912, a similar electric model came with a $1,750 price tag, making electric cars even less appealing to buyers.


Which of the following did NOT bring about the end of electric car production in 1935?

Cheap gasoline and improved, expanded roads increased demand for gas-powered vehicles throughout the early 20th century. Combined with the fact that few people outside of major cities had electricity at home, it's no surprise that electric cars had largely died off by 1935.


What year did a major oil embargo help boost interest in alternative fuels in the U.S.?

The oil embargo in 1973 resulted in sky-high gas prices and severe shortages. In response, Congress passed the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1976 to spur research into alternative fuel sources.


What was the average range of an electric car in the 1970s on a single charge?

A typical electric car could travel 40 miles on a single charge in the 1970s. By the 1990s the average electric vehicle could travel 60 miles per charge and was capable of reaching speeds similar to those achieved by gas-powered cars.


Which company released the all-electric EV1 in 1996?

GM's EV1 was the first electric car built from the ground up to run on electricity. It had an 80-mile range, but high production costs led GM to discontinue the car in 2001.


True or false: The Toyota Prius was the first hybrid vehicle to hit the U.S. since the start of the 20th century.

While the Prius made hybrid cars popular in the U.S., it actually came after the Honda Insight, which was available to U.S. buyers starting in 1999.


When did Toyota release the Prius?

Toyota released the Prius in Japan in 1997 then released the hybrid-electric vehicle worldwide in 2000.


What is the name of the first commercially available plug-in hybrid vehicle?

Released in 2010, the Chevy Volt was the first commercially available plug-in hybrid vehicle in the U.S.


What is the name of the first all-electric vehicle in the U.S?

Released in 2000 and powered only by an electric motor, the Nissan Leaf was the first all-electric passenger car in the U.S.


How many miles is the average round-trip commute in the U.S.?

The average American commutes just 30 miles per day round-trip, which is well within the 70 mile range of a typical 21st-century electric vehicle.


What percent of the U.S. hybrid car market is made up of Prius sales?

With over 200,000 of them purchased in 2014, the Prius accounts for around 42 percent of the hybrid vehicle market. Toyota has sold more than 1.8 million Prius models since 2001.


What name did Toyota give its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, which was released in 2015?

The Toyota Mirai relies on hydrogen fuel cells to provide an estimated efficiency of 67 miles per gallon (28 kilometers per liter), or 312 miles per tank.


What is the name of the 2008 electric vehicle produced by Tesla?

The 2008 Tesla Roadster gets an estimated 245 miles (394 kilometers) per charge and can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 3.7 seconds.


Which of the following is NOT a source of biodiesel?

Vegetable oils, animal fats and even recycled restaurant grease are all used to make biodiesel, which does not contain fossil fuels.


True or false: You need a special biodiesel vehicle to use biodiesel fuel.

Biodiesel can be used in almost any standard diesel-powered vehicle.


What is the most common biodiesel blend?

B20 consists of 20 percent biodiesel mixed with 80 percent standard diesel fuel. It’s the most common biofuel blend and produces 15 percent less emissions than petroleum.


True or false: Ethanol is primarily made from corn.

Ethanol is made from corn and similar plants. Almost all gas sold in the U.S. is blended with ethanol.


True or false: Biobutanol can be used in standard gas engines without modifying the engine.

Biobutanol is a fuel made from biomass, such as algae. Because of the way it is fermented, it can be used in a standard gas engine with little to no modification.


True or false: In 2015 Danish students introduced a four-seat car powered solely by the sun.

The solar-powered Stella Lux seats four, requires no gas and can travel up to 78 miles per hour (126 kilometers per hour).


What did University of Warwick students use to power a race car in 2009?

Students at the U.K.'s University of Warwick designed a car that could run on a blend of gasoline and 30 percent biodiesel sourced from chocolate waste.


How many pounds of carbon dioxide emissions does a gas-powered vehicle produce each year?

A standard gas vehicle emits 11,658 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year, resulting in both air pollution and global warming.


True or false: An all-electric vehicle emits less than half the emissions associated with a gas-powered vehicle each year.

While gas vehicles emit more than 11,000 pounds (4,990 kilograms) of carbon dioxide each year, electric cars produce just 4,852 pounds on average. Hybrids come in slightly higher than electric vehicles, with a range of 5,989 to 6,674 pounds.


True or false: You can plug in a hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV).

A hybrid-electric vehicle — think Prius — gets all its energy from liquid fuel and cannot be plugged in to charge.


How do you provide power to a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)?

A PHEV can draw energy from either its battery or liquid fuel and can be plugged in.


What country leads the world in electric vehicle use?

There's one electric vehicle for every 100 people in Norway and only 0.07 electric cars for every U.S. resident. This is due to the staggering price of gas in Norway and government incentives that make buying an electric car more affordable.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!