On the way or around the corner? Observed refueling choices of alternative-fuel drivers in Southern California

Scott Kelley, Michael Kuby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Limited refueling infrastructure is an oft-cited barrier to alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) adoption, but empirical data on AFV driver refueling behavior are rare. To address this need, we surveyed 259 drivers of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in Southern California at five stations across the metropolitan area. The key survey questions concerned the stops immediately before and after refueling and the driver's home location. Using GIS, we analyze the least travel-time routes and the station chosen to provide insight into what drivers consider to be their most convenient refueling location. Specifically, we focus on whether they select stations nearest to home or on routes that require the least deviation. When faced with a choice between the two-that is, when no station satisfies both criteria-we found that ten times as many CNG drivers selected the station most on their way between their origin and destination than chose the station closest to their home. This finding supports the notion that optimal location models for planning early AFV refueling infrastructures should maximize convenience by serving the routes that drivers use frequently rather than their home locations, and that locations near high-volume roads may be ideal candidates for early station sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-267
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Alternative fuel vehicle
  • Convenience
  • Deviation
  • Infrastructure
  • Location
  • Station

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • General Environmental Science


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