App for alternative-fuel vehicles can help you recharge or fill up

Fill ‘er up?

Or the alternative-fuel equivalent, perhaps, charge ‘er up.




But where? At least, that might be a question for many who drive – or plan to drive – alternative-fuel vehicles. It’s not like there is a fueling station on every corner, as with gasoline stations.

It’s a question, though, that is becoming easier and easier to answer as green vehicles proliferate.

And now, there’s a smart phone app free from the U.S. Energy Department to help.

“Apparently there’s an app for everything,” writes Stephen Edelstein in Green Car Reports, “including finding a place to fill up or recharge your alternative-fuel vehicle.”

The app is a mobile version of the DOE’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator Web site, which lists more than 15,000 stations across the country. The app itself lists nearly 13,000 public stations nationwide – including electric (6,806 stations), Propane (2,719), ethanol (2,354), compressed natural gas (632), biodiesel (325), liquefied natural gas (42) and hydrogen (10).

An interactive map shows “All Fuels” or can be filtered for individual alternative-fuel station locations nationally. For example, it clearly would be easier to plan a trip in an electric vehicle in the Northeast, Southeast, Upper Midwest, Florida, Texas or Pacific Coast than in a vehicle powered by Hydrogen, where the only significant concentration of fueling stations is in Southern California. The app also allows users to “Plan a Route” such as Dallas to New York City and see stations along the way.

And geography can be narrowed to state or ZIP code if you’re staying closer to home.

For less well-planned fuel stops, writes Edelstein, the app also displays addresses, phone numbers, and operating hours for all stations near a user’s current location.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator available here as a free iPhone app or from iTunes. Android and Windows users can still access a mobile version of the DoE site through their phones’ web browsers.

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