SAN DIEGO — July 21, 2003 — The world’s first and most advanced fuel depot to offer a comprehensive array of alternative and traditional fuels to motorists has opened at the new Regional Transportation Center in San Diego. The RTC Fuel Depot is located at 4001 El Cajon Boulevard at the intersection of El Cajon Blvd. and the I-15. An integral part of this fueling staion is its education and outreach program, the EcoCenter for Alternative Fuel Education.
Designed to efficiently accommodate the fueling requirements of both Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) and conventional automobiles, the RTC Fuel Depot offers motorists an unprecedented nine types of fuel, including six types to power AFVs. Alternative fuel depot “firsts” include: Liquefied Propane Gas (LPG) — the first public underground tank in the US for automobile fueling; Ethanol (E-85) — the first tank on the West Coast; Biodiesel — the first tank in San Diego with fuel that is actually made from recycled french fry grease; Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) — San Diego’s first 3,600 psi fueling station; Electricity — the largest electrical charging station in San Diego; and Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel. Three standard grades of gasoline are also available to fuel bi-fuel, flex-fuel and conventional automobiles.
Lewis said the fuels are dispensed from futuristic, 8-feet-tall “Eclipse” pumps, which also make their San Diego debut at the RTC Fuel Depot. In addition, motorists get the “white glove” full service treatment at no charge from RTC service attendants dressed in 1950’s era uniforms and eager to assist with air, water and window cleaning services. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the RTC Fuel Depot accepts all major credit, debit, and Voyager cards, as well as another first for Alternative Fuels … cash.
“We are very excited that the RTC Fuel Depot has opened and is able to accommodate virtually any type of alternative or conventional vehicle in San Diego,” Lewis said. “The Fuel Depot represents the important first component of the RTC, which will be the world’s first comprehensive showcase of alternative fuels and the vehicles that use them.”
The RTC is set to hold its official grand opening on August 8th in its $15 million, 92,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility designed to educate people about the benefits of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). The RTC’s architecture reflects a high-tech feel of the 21st Century, while its subtle design elements recall the golden age of motoring in the 1950s. The project has been under development since 1998 and construction began July of last year. Located on 1.65 acres, the RTC serves as a gateway project in the City Heights Redevelopment Area. When opened, the RTC will have several unique components as well as the Fuel Depot, which is said to be the most unique fuel station in the country.
The RTC’s signature structure will be the AFV Showroom, a stunning example of modern, state-of-the-art automobile showroom design — efficient, comfortable and high-tech. The showroom floor will showcase Ford Motor Co.’s complete line of AFV’s. The showroom will be managed and operated by Pearson Ford, a family-owned Ford dealership, which has been serving San Diegans for more than 60 years.
Complementing the showroom will be the AFV Rental/Demo Center, which will expose the general motoring public to the advantages of new fuel technologies by allowing them to drive and experience the new vehicles.
The AFV Service Center will provide both AFV and conventional automobile owners with a convenient location for vehicle repairs. The Service Center will have multiple service bays equipped to service various types of AFVs, both from Ford and other manufacturers.
Another essential part of the RTC is their education program, the EcoCenter for Alternative Fuel Education, run by the San Diego Environmental Foundation non-profit. The EcoCenter offers free field trips for 5th-7th grade students across San Diego County. Our CNG bus picks up students at their school, brings them to the EcoCenter, and immerses them in our world of alternative fuels. Each field trip is a 2-hour adventure revealing the past, present and future of gasoline and alternate fuel powered vehicles and how they relate to clean air and clean energy. Students learn the environmental costs for our community; they explore personal choices to improve the environment and use less energy.
Students begin the field trip by watching a dramatic video that introduces alternate fuels and alternate fuel vehicles. Through interactive activities, students learn of our precarious dependence on limited oil supplies. They study the environmental costs of the gasoline-powered automobile. Students explore solutions by comparing different automobile fuels, choosing actions to make a clean city, and racing their own Alternative Fuel Vehicle. The kids leave excited about what they learned, and motivated to save the world!
The RTC has received financial support from Pearson Ford, Ford Motor Company, U.S. Department of Energy, California Air Resources Board, City of San Diego via a HUD grant, Mutual Propane and Clean Energy. Lusardi Construction is the general contractor for the RTC and the GTB Company of El Cajon built the fuel station.
For more information on the Regional Transportation Center and the EcoCenter for Alternative Fuel Education, the EcoCenter website at www.sdecocenter.org, or call 619-243-0410.