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San Diego: A Bright Spot For Alternative Fuels

The Freedom Bus, powered by sustainable energy, is touring the country to increase awareness about alternative fuels.
Chris Milholland
The Freedom Bus, powered by sustainable energy, is touring the country to increase awareness about alternative fuels.

A special screening of a new documentary takes place tonight in San Diego. The new film "Freedom" delves into the world of big oil and dispels some of the myths surrounding alternatives like ethanol.

Rebecca Harrell Tickell co-produced the documentary with her husband, Josh. They are traveling across the country in the ‘Freedom Bus’ on a 50-city tour to screen their new film and increase awareness about alternative fuels.

The bus is an interesting draw in itself. The engine is powered by ethanol. It has 17 solar panels to power the interactive learning tools on board, and a biodiesel generator to pick up the slack when the sun goes down.


“It’s really the perfect example of what we’re talking about,” Tickell said describing the bus. “It’s not about one silver-bullet solution. It’s about taking all of the different means that we have available to us. It’s a rolling learning, educational laboratory and people can come on the bus and find out how they can get off of oil.”

According to the film's producers, "Freedom" offers up a blueprint for the country's energy future.

"We spend over a billion dollars a day importing foreign oil,” said Tickell. “Imagine what that would do for our economy if we stopped doing that - if we kept that money here in the United States. And that's what "Freedom" shows. It shows exactly how we can get America off of oil."

The film is a follow-up to the Tickells' award-winning 2008 documentary "FUEL."

The screening takes place at the AMC Mission Valley Theaters tonight at 7 p.m. Audience members are invited to stick around after the film to take part in a discussion on what is being done to improve sustainability in San Diego.


In conjunction with the film’s screening, local business leaders and alternative energy experts met in San Diego this week to discuss how biofuels make sense for both the environment and the economy.

Biofuels are a growing alternative to petroleum-based gasoline and diesel. They can be used to power cars, trucks, generators - anything with a combustion engine.

The advantages to using these alternative fuels are threefold, said Jorge Parra, regional operations manager for Propel Fuels.

"Let's reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil,” Parra stated. “Let's give people the power of choice. Let's offer people clean renewable fuels. We're going to make a step in the right direction."

The biofuels conference took place at Pearson Fuel Depot on El Cajon Boulevard, just east of highway 15. The depot was the first alternative fuel station built in the United States and the largest electric vehicle charging facility in San Diego.