The cost of gasoline has many motorists scrambling for fuel alternatives, and the choices are loaded with pros and cons. The ramifications of selecting a standard among them are far-reaching and complex; so choosing one option over the others is understandably a difficult choice for the individual to make as well.

Electric vehicles have been around for decades now, but have yet to emerge as a practical alternative for a number of reasons. Public reluctance to embrace the technology due to range limitations inherent to their design and the need for frequent recharges are just two of them. As battery technology improves and car makers invest fully in the manufacture of electric-powered models, this may all change. For now, though, the price tag simply isn’t justified for a viable option.

Hybrid vehicles were developed as a best-of-both-worlds approach to the emissions and cost liabilities of gasoline power, and the limited functionality of battery-power. Technology varies to some degree from one model to another, but the basic concept of hybrids is to switch from one power mode to the other based on driving conditions, and recharging of the battery(ies) is done via an on-board alternator, much like conventional car batteries.  Currently, though, hybrids are priced beyond an owner’s ability to recoup the initial cost of ownership via fuel savings. Without government subsidies or incentives to provide the necessary nudge, going hybrid is just beyond the reach of many consumers.

Diesel fuel has been the  preferred means of automotive propulsion in Europe for many years, and there’s good reason. It’s easier and cheaper to refine than gasoline. Diesel provides on average 40% better fuel economy than a gas-powered equivalent engine. Urea-based additives and bio-diesel alternatives are making it a cleaner option than in the past. It can even be argued that since it requires less diesel fuel to drive the same mileage than with gas, it’s even cleaner. All this not to mention that they last longer and wear better than gasoline engines.

Improvements in each arena are likely to change the automotive landscape significantly over the coming years. With those changes will come a corresponding change in their public appeal. In the meantime, however, the case for diesel remains strong.