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Transportation Basics

The future of sustainable transportation relies on domestic alternative fuels, more fuel-efficient engines, electric-drive vehicles, vehicle connectivity, and a grid powered by a variety of renewable and conventional energy sources.

Technological innovations—such as improving the advanced batteries that power plug-in electric vehicles and co-optimizing fuels and engines—reduce costs while increasing efficiency and performance. At the same time, innovative mobility strategies have the potential to transform the movement of people and goods, enhance national security, and save individuals and businesses both time and money.

Energy-efficient vehicle technologies are part of the solution. Electric drive vehicles—hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and all-electric vehicles—use electricity either as their primary fuel or, as with hybrids, to improve the efficiency of conventional vehicle designs. And because electricity and hydrogen are domestic resources, using them in vehicles boosts the U.S. economy and reduces our reliance on imported oil.

All-Electric Vehicles

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

Hybrid-Electric Vehicles

Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles

Why is this important?

Each year in the United States, drivers travel more than 3 trillion miles.

Transportation accounts for about 70% of U.S. petroleum consumption and nearly 30% of the energy we use as a country.

For the typical American, transportation is the second highest expense after housing…

and the average city commuter wastes approximately 54 hours a year stuck in traffic.

Additional Resources

Learn about NREL's transportation and hydrogen and fuel cell research efforts.

For more information about alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, visit the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center.