SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Willie Nelson is on the road again with biodiesel -- this time bringing the cleaner-burning fuel to a retail station in San Diego. The musician announced availability of the fuel yesterday at the Pearson Ford Fuel Depot, located at 4001 El Cajon Boulevard.



Biodiesel, a diesel fuel substitute made from soybean oil and other natural fats and vegetable oils, works in any diesel vehicle. It can be used in pure form or blended with petroleum diesel. The most common blend is B20, a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel.



Willie Nelson Biodiesel, the company in which Nelson is a partner, and Pearson Ford Fuels in San Diego, have joined forces with distributor Plavan Petroleum to create California's first fulltime "BioWillie" B20 retail outlet. BioWillie is the singer's unique brand of fuel.



"I'm looking forward to bringing biodiesel to the people of San Diego through the city's first BioWillie pump," Nelson said. "I hope this pump will make the next step towards a solution to the world's energy crisis. Through biodiesel, we can reduce dependency upon foreign oil and adopt an energy source that's clean, renewable and helps family farmers find new uses for their products."



Long-time biodiesel advocate, actress Daryl Hannah, also attended the fuel pump dedication.



Nelson has been a lifelong champion of American family farmers and launched the business bearing his name in 2004 as a way to help the nation develop a homegrown, clean energy portfolio. He was in San Diego to headline the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo, which ended yesterday at the San Diego Convention Center. The conference drew 2000 visitors from across the nation.



"California is the nation's most populous state, and Willie Nelson's appeal with farmers as well as the state's independent truckers makes California an important source both of biodiesel demand and production," said Joe Jobe, CEO of the nonprofit National Biodiesel Board.



Located at the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and the 15 Freeway, the Pearson Ford Fuel Depot is a one-of-a-kind alternative fuel station, carrying ethanol, natural gas and biodiesel. It is also home to the San Diego Ecocenter, the nation's first alternative fuel educational center.



BioWillie spokesman Stuart Rodman says the opening of the BioWillie pump at the Pearson Ford Fuel Depot will "energize both motors and minds throughout Southern California."



"The Pearson Ford Fuel Depot has been a pioneer in developing awareness of our need to make biodiesel an everyday reality in this nation, not just for today but for future generations that will set the standards for the rest of the century," Rodman said.



Mike Lewis, general manager of the Pearson Ford Fuel Depot and chairman of the San Diego Environmental Foundation, emphasized the importance in imparting awareness of biodiesel to today's youth. The Ecocenter teaches secondary school kids about energy through educational games and an audio-visual experience in a custom made amphitheater, among other tools.



"Our model is an example that can be emulated throughout the country," Lewis said. "Selling alternative fuel is just the first step. We're not just making it available - we're educating the public on the benefits to our community. Partnerships with local schools and communities will assure a cleaner, more energy independent America"



Andy Christman of Plavan Petroleum added that his company is committed to making Southern California a center of biodiesel consumption. "Combining the stature of Willie Nelson and the community leadership of the Pearson Ford Fuel Depot will capture the imagination of San Diego and leave a permanent image in the minds of the hundreds of students that visit the Ecocenter every week as part of the school curricula."



Biodiesel has become America's fastest growing alternative fuel, according to the Department of Energy. Biodiesel and biodiesel blends reduce emissions while offering similar performance to petroleum diesel. Biodiesel has the highest energy balance of any liquid fuel. For every unit of energy used to make biodiesel, 3.2 units are gained.



More than 600 filling stations make biodiesel available to the public, and 1,500 petroleum distributors carry it nationwide. More than 600 fleets use biodiesel, including government and military, commercial and school bus fleets. San Diego area users of the cleaner burning fuel include Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.



Based in Jefferson City, Mo., NBB is a nonprofit trade association coordinating the industry and educating the public about biodiesel.



Readers can learn more about biodiesel by visiting www.biodiesel.org. More on Willie Nelson Biodiesel can be found at www.wnbiodiesel.com, or contact San Diego's BioWillie distributor at 760-801-0190. The Ecocenter's website is www.sdecocenter.org.



SOURCE: National Biodiesel Board news release.