The fuel you use to fire up your barbeque grill or the grease left over from that breakfast fry-up is now powering more vehicles than you imagine on freeways. Alternative fuels are gaining popularity, because many are grown by farmers in the U.S., and are often cheaper and cleaner than gasoline.
Mike Lewis, Manager, Regional Transportation Center
We talked to Mike Lewis, who runs the Regional Transportation Center in San Diego, and asked him 'What's the catch?'
POV's Borders: What's so unique about the Center and
do people get when they drive up?
Mike:It's the first time in the world anyone has put
these different components together in one place. You can fill up on ethanol,
propane, compressed natural gas (CNG). We have six electric charging stations
you can use for free. We have people pumping biodiesel made out of used French
The average person produces 7 gallons of waste cooking oil a year. We take this out of the waste stream from local restaurants and it's turned into fuel. We also have an education center that will bring in school children on natural gas-powered buses so they can learn about energy sources and pollution problems around the world.
What's the biggest misconception about alternative fuels?
When it comes to ethanol and biodiesel there are literally
tens of thousands of people who don't know their vehicles can run on something
other than gasoline. There are many vehicles out there that can switch between
ethanol and gasoline, or between regular diesel and biodiesel using the same
What motivates people to come here?
More and more people have come in asking about alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) because they're troubled by our foreign oil dependence. A lot of people feel that our interests in the Middle East are due primarily to our huge dependence on foreign oil. And these people feel they have very few choices to do anything about that. But one option they do have is choosing alternative fuels and weaning themselves off that oil.
The Regional Transportation Center in San Diego is the
first gas station to offer an array of exotic fuel alternatives, and the vehicles
to put them in. Take a trip around the center and see what's on offer. (1:48 minutes)