Aiken Seeing Future of Fuel Now

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February 8, 2006
The future of fuel is taking off right now in Aiken County. The country’s first alternative fueling facility opened there in 2001 and now a distribution center is about to open. News 12 tells you why fuel made from soybeans is catching on.

This Aiken garbage truck is in a way creating less waste. It’s run by the environmentally friendly bio-diesel fuel made from soybeans.

Two of Aiken’s trucks are fueled with bio-diesel. The city is so pleased, they’re considering using it more.

“The gas normally give me a headache. You can’t smell this, I like it better,” said Bev Forrest.

When this Aiken station opened five years ago, it was the first alternative fueling station in America. It caught on in Aiken and they now sell three million gallons of fuel and growing.

Doug Goodman started fueling his personal truck here a few weeks ago.

“It’s cheaper, one thing. My neighbor talked me into it, said it’s cleaner,” Goodman said.

Bio-diesel became cheaper in October when President Bush included a tax credit in the energy bill.

“We’ve invested a significant amount of money, even before the energy bill on the hopes that we could get this to become an alternative fuel and it is,” said Mark Harper.

Mark Harper is the CEO of United Energy, which runs the Aiken fueling facility.

Harper hopes the lower price will mean South Carolina’s school buses will soon run on bio-diesel. And this is paving the way for more things to run on alternative fuel. In about a month, United Energy will open a bio-diesel distribution center in Aiken County. It will be stored in these tanks, put on rail cars and shipped to four states.

“Our hope is to expand the network and make sure it’s available to the public,” Harper said.

So in a few years, Aiken’s rare bio-diesel station may be the norm.

Bio-diesel works in any diesel car or truck. To fill up, the alternative fuel facility is on Tooleback Road in Aiken. The station is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Right now it costs $2.38 a gallon. They also sell ethanol, which is good in flexible fuel vehicles.