Stand up for nonprofit news & help us reach our $100,000 goal! GIVE NOW

Alternative fuel not so new

Kai Ryssdal May 1, 2006

According to the Petersen Automotive Museum, in 1900:

  • 40% of all automobiles were powered by steam
  • 38% of all automobiles were powered by electricity
  • 22% of all automobiles were powered by gasoline


    A 1938 Citroen powered by coal. (Petersen Automotive Museum)


    Los Angeles Times auto critic Dan Neil checks out the bag of coal in the back of the 1938 Citroen powered by it. (Brett Neely)


    A 1917 Woods Dual-Power, an early gas hybrid car using a technology in some ways similar to the current Honda Civic hybrids. (Petersen Automotive Museum)


    A 1917 Woods Dual-Power, an early gas hybrid car using a technology in some ways similar to the current Honda Civic hybrids. (Brett Neely)

    GM’s EV1, a mass-produced electric vehicle. The program was discontinued in 2002 and almost all of them were destroyed. (Brett Neely)

  • As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

    Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

    Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.