Frequently Asked Questions About Alternative Fuels

Is Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) affordable?

Absolutely. CNG currently costs 30% less than gasoline or diesel fuel in a per-gallon comparison.  What’s more, because most CNG comes from America, the markets for CNG are less sensitive to foreign events, unlike the volatility of petroleum-based foreign fuels.

Thanks to the lower cost of CNG fuel, converting your existing vehicle, or purchasing a natural gas vehicle (NGV), generates an attractive return on investment.

What are the environmental benefits of using natural gas as fuel?

Natural gas is a clean energy source. When used as a fuel for vehicles, its benefits are:
  •   90%–97% reduction in carbon monoxide emissions
  •   25% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions
  •   35%–60% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions
  •   Fewer toxic and carcinogenic pollutants and little to no particulate matter produced
  •   No evaporative emissions or odors in dedicated engines compared to those associated with gasoline or diesel fuel

What are some other benefits of Natural Gas?

The U.S. has the largest natural gas reserves in the world. Natural gas can power America's vehicles, homes and businesses for generations to come.

By converting to natural gas you help create and support a demand that will generate domestic distribution, service and production jobs in America. The dollars you spend at the pump go right back into the American economy, not overseas to finance foreign economies.

Is Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) safe?

Yes. Natural gas is a very safe fuel and is used by millions of Americans every day. CNG has a higher ignition point combined with a narrow flammability range, making it safer relative to gasoline.

If a CNG leak occurs, the gas, being lighter than air, will dissipate into the atmosphere quickly, greatly reducing the threat of fire.

Are Natural Gas Vehicles safe?

Yes. They are inspected and held to the same safety and fire protection standards as gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles.

Any tips for saving even more money on fuel?

Absolutely, and these tips work no matter the type of vehicle or fuel used.

Before you hop in the car:

  • Plan trips to avoid rush-hour traffic
  • Consolidate trips when possible
  • Keep vehicle weight to a minimum
  • Be sure to completely release your parking brake

While driving:

  • Drive at a smooth, steady pace
  • Avoid unnecessary braking
  • Avoid “rabbit” starts and stops—quick acceleration and hard braking
  • Use fresh air from vents or windows for driver comfort—air conditioners use more fuel
  • Don't idle for an extended time. You’re getting zero MPG. Turn your engine off.
  • Drive in the highest gear the situation requires, and use your overdrive gear if you have it

Keep your car in good repair:

  • Keep tire pressure at the manufacturer recommended level. Check tire pressure when your tires are “cold,” i.e., before driving.
  • Check tire wear frequently. Unusual wear patterns are signs your car needs service.
  • Keep wheels properly aligned and balanced
  • Follow manufacturer standards for keeping your car tuned and changing your oil
  • Replace dirty air filters

What’s the story about octane?

Gasoline's are generally rated with an anti-knock index number that measures octane quality. Determined by engine tests, this number reflects a gasoline's ability to resist engine knock. Engine knock is a heavy rapping noise that can lead to loss of power or mechanical damage. A fuel's octane number does not mean higher quality, performance or improved miles per gallon. It is only the level to which the gas combats knocking.

Most cars today are designed for regular unleaded gasoline with an octane number of 87. For a severe knocking problem, for example, an 89 octane fuel will prevent knocking more effectively than an 87. If your car runs knock-free on a lower octane fuel, it is a waste of money to buy high-octane fuel. Consult the owner's manual for your car's recommended octane level.

What is E85?

E85 is the term for a motor fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. E85 is an alternative fuel as defined by the U.S. Department of Energy. Besides its superior performance characteristics, ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline; it is a completely renewable, domestic, environmentally friendly fuel that enhances the nation's economy and energy independence.

What's a flex fuel vehicle?

Flexible fuel vehicles, or FFVs, look like regular cars, trucks or SUVs, but they're equipped to run on any blend of ethanol, from zero to 85 percent. There are millions of FFVs on U.S. highways today. FFVs are fully warranted and are typically available at no extra cost to the consumer.

To safely and effectively operate a vehicle on E85, the vehicle must be compatible with alcohol use. Aftermarket conversion of gasoline-powered vehicles to ethanol-fueled vehicles, although possible, is not recommended because of the changes in component materials necessary, the high cost and the need for extensive calibration.

How do I know if my vehicle is designed to accept flex fuel?

Look for a label on the inside of your vehicle's fuel door, check your owner's manual or go to and to see if your vehicle is listed as an FFV.

Where do I find E85 fuel?

Kwik Trip/Kwik Star has 46 E85 stores, and the number is growing every month. To find the nearest Kwik Trip/Kwik Star E85 store, go to our store locator.

Is E85 fuel really a smart choice?

E85 has a number of clear advantages.

  • It’s homegrown and renewable, reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.
  • It’s cleaner than petroleum-based fuels, cutting ozone-forming pollution by 20 percent and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 30 percent.
  • It’s less toxic for the environment; unlike gasoline, E85 contains no toxic compounds like benzene, toluene, and xylene.
  • Finally, while it has fewer BTUs per gallon than gasoline, so your fuel economy may go down a little, its lower price more than makes up the difference.