Hybrid, compressed gas, electric - even vegetable oil - there is a "green" option to power your car.
Options for fueling up on alternative energy are plentiful today, with more auto makers releasing cars designed to achieve higher gas mileage and lower emissions.
One model getting attention is the Nissan Leaf, a fully electric, rechargeable zero-emissions hatchback that has a range of about 100 miles. A full charge, which can be accomplished with a regular home outlet or special docking station, costs about $2.40. The car has about a 100 mpg equivalent.
Alexander Nissan in Muncy has sold one Leaf, according to salesman Mike Conner. Another one is soon to be delivered to a customer, he said.
"There's absolutely no noise - none," he said of the car's electric motor.
Fully-equipped, the Leaf costs upward of $38,000, but state and federal tax incentives are available to help offset the cost. The Leaf has full torque from 0 mph and can reach a top speed of 90 mph.
"It's faster than most four-cylinder cars" because of the powerful torque, Conner said.
The Leaf is powered by a 600-pound lithium ion battery housed underneath the car. Although the battery may be charged in between trips, Nissan says the battery may have to be replaced after 10 years of service.
Recycled materials are used in the car's interior, while LED headlights and interior lamps are used to save electricity.
Another car that's designed to run on electricity, but also has a gas engine is the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt, described as an extended-range plug-in hatchback, runs for about 35 miles on electric power, then transitions to gas when battery power runs out. The combined electric-gas range is 375 miles, according to General Motors.
Wayne Wigg, salesman at Blaise Alexander Chevrolet in Montoursville, said the Volt has drawn some interest, but customers usually require a little education about the car.
"There's confusion about the fact that the car runs on nothing but battery power," Wigg said. "It's just a car that happens to be electric."
He said the Volt has the equivalent of a 263-horsepower engine.
After recovering from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation on its battery last year, the Volt has recently posted strong sales numbers, according to GM. Sales are almost triple the rate in the first three months of 2012 compared to 2011. The Volt also recorded its highest monthly sales in March since its debut in late 2010.
But Toyota's Prius hybrid sits on top of the "green" car segment, accounting for 57 percent of all hybrid and electric vehicles sold, according to industry statistics. The Prius was released worldwide in 2001.
"It's almost impossible to keep in stock," Dan Goldman, general manager of Fairfield Toyota in Pennsdale said of the Prius. "Even the ones we have inbound to us are already sold."
Goldman said there is a one- to two-month waiting list to get a new Prius. pre-owned Prius' also are difficult to come by, he said.
The Prius is a "tried and true vehicle," according to Goldman because it has been on the market for many years. "There's no surprises with the Prius."
The car, which delivers about 50 mpg, "is relatively inexpensive in comparison" to other available hybrid or all-electric choices, according to Goldman.
The city of Williamsport has even jumped on the clean energy bandwagon with a compressed natural gas-operated transit bus that was put into service late last year. A CNG fueling station is also planned for the city bus garage this year. Mayor Gabriel J. Campana also had a CNG fueling station installed at his residence for the natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX in which he cruises about town.
But the trend toward vehicles powered by alternative energy sources doesn't stop there. Some even drive cars powered by waste vegetable oil.
Rudolph Diesel didn't invent an engine to run on a petroleum-based oil. His idea was to use peanut oil. Any diesel engine can be modified to run on waste vegetable oil from restaurants that is properly filtered of food particles and water.
Do-it-yourself home mechanics or professionals can tackle the project. The result is a "grease car" that has no harmful emissions and saves money and the environment by recycling a natural product.
Biodiesel is made with waste vegetable oil, but processed with an array of chemicals and procedures to transform it into fuel. Existing diesel engines need no modifications to run on biodiesel.
Lycoming College's biodiesel program that recycles used cooking oil from campus eateries has produced several hundred gallons of fuel that is used in buildings and grounds vehicles. The seniors who oversaw the operation last year have turned it over to other students to continue production, according to Jerry Rashid, Lycoming's director of college relations.
Dr. Neil Boyd, Lycoming College chair of business administration and co-chair of the sustainability committee, said efforts to produce biodiesel there are self-sustaining.
"As we need it, we're able to produce it," he said.