Fill It Up with French Fry Grease

A San Diego gas station offers electricity, ethanol, and biodiesel. Oh, yes, regular too.

Published: 06-Aug-2003

N class=text>You may catch a whiff of cooking grease at the most environmentally friendly gas station in the world, but don't blame the smell on the doughnut shop across the street. The odor comes from pumps 9 and 10, which dispense "biodiesel" fuel made from the sludge that lurks in deep fryers everywhere.

Just a few feet away, you can fill 'er up with electricity or ethanol fermented from the leftovers of cheese production. Got a lactose- intolerant car? Visit the adjoining showroom and check the selection of alternatively fueled Ford vehicles. Or drop by the nonprofit education center and learn why you should bother worrying about the environment in the first place.

In all, the 90,000-square-foot Regional Transportation Center is a $15 million gamble on the eventual demise of unleaded gasoline (still available from pumps 1 to 8.)

"There are huge market forces that inevitably make us win the bet. Undoubtedly, we will run out of oil in this world," says general manager Mike Lewis. "The thing that's unknown is the timing. Whether this will happen this year or in five decades is to be determined."

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