Alternative fuels for vehicles

Globally there is a growing awareness of the environmental concerns around the use of traditional fuels. Gas powered vehicles with low, or zero, emissions from exhausts and a reduced carbon footprint are part of the future.

There are several drivers for change, including:

  •  an increasing awareness about air quality, especially within cities and urban areas, where tail pipe emissions are having a detrimental effect on health
  •  a growing demand for environmentally friendly fuels with a particular emphasis on reducing emissions, such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter and carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • concerns over the long term availability of existing traditional fuels at an affordable price
  • concerns over future security of supply particularly from politically unstable countries
  • growing numbers of publically accessible fuel stations which dispense gaseous fuels

There are now increasing numbers of alternative gas fuelled vehicles, such as those powered by hydrogen (H2), compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), readily available. To support the role-out of alternative fuelled vehicles BCGA has worked with other bodies and developed guidance for those installing gaseous fuel infrastructure:

BCGA has produced videos which highlight the benefits that Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles offer for UK motorists and that look behind the scenes at a new generation of buses powered by CNG. These show how we can set a blueprint for future green vehicles using the latest cost-effective, high performance technology.

Wider developments and further information:

Within the UK, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), co-ordinate the Government effort to support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles.

In recognition of the need to develop alternative fuel supplies, the European Union have published a Directive on the provision of alternative fuel infrastructure (AFID). They have set targets to increase the use of alternative fuels and to develop the infrastructure necessary.

The UK has enacted the AFID through the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations (SI 2017 No. 897)

The UK Government has also set targets to achieve a clean air state and to improve public health by reducing pollution and encouraging the use of low emission vehicles through accelerating the shift towards low carbon transport.

Increasing cities across the globe operate clean air zones, with London being a leading example, having both a low emission zone and an ultra-low emission zone. Other UK cities, such as Birmingham, are developing their own clean air zones and have plans in place to encourage low emission vehicles and provide the necessary infrastructure to support them.

The joint Government and car industry campaign, Go Ultra Low, provides lots of useful facts and information on battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

The UK H2 Mobility project, a partnership between UK Government and industry, provides information on working to make hydrogen-fuelled transport a reality.

This SMMT Guide explains how hydrogen fuel cell technology works, some of the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles available in the UK, the technology's benefits and safety credentials, as well as practical information such as refuelling and refuelling infrastructure.

Additional information on the use of CNG and LNG as a vehicle fuel is available from: 

The NGVA provide a map showing the location of CNG and LNG filling stations . Some examples of projects involving alternative vehicle fuels include:


Within BCGA, gases used for vehicle fuels are the responsibility of Technical Sub-Committee (TSC) 9. Members can access information on TSC9 via the ‘Members' area.

BCGA members are working closely with the standards organisations on the development of standards for alternative fuels.


  • BCGA CP 41 - The design, construction, maintenance and operation of filling stations dispensing gaseous fuels.
  • BCGA CP 46 - The storage of cryogenic flammable fluids.
  • IGEM UP/20 - Compressed natural gas fuelling stations.
  • IGEM UP/21 - Liquefied natural gas fuelling stations. Publication under development.
  • Energy Institute - The design, construction, modification, maintenance and decommissioning of filling stations (The Blue Book)
  • Energy Institute - Guidance on hydrogen delivery systems for refuelling of motor vehicles. Public use, co-located with petrol filling stations. (Supplement to the Blue Book)

Useful Links

  •  Department for Transport - DfT 
  •  Health and Safety Executive - HSE
  •  The Office for Low Emission Vehicles - OLEV
  •  Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy - BEIS 
  •  Energy Institute 
  •  Association Petroleum and Explosives Administration - APEA 
  •  Petroleum Enforcement Liaison Group - PELG 
  •  Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers - IGEM 

Providers of services for alternative fuels for vehicles

Several BCGA member companies offer services associated with the provision of various gases as alternative fuels for vehicle. See the full list here.