Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Gas Station Question and Comment

The following is a comment that was posted on this blog regarding the new gas station on the coast highway. I think it has merit so I'm posting it on the main page. The poster "Koalani" is an architect and former Leucadia resident.

This is totally unrelated, but I havent been to this blog in months. I was looking at the Leucadia 'tour' and was struck by the new look gas station. I was wondering if anyone knows if any 'green' efforts have been made with that new station. Is the building employing any sustainable principles? Is anything being done to curtail the runoff that will inevitably come from it (i.e. bioswales)? Will it be selling any sort of biofuels?

I ask because it seems like a new gas station is the perfect opportunity to effect change in the building, it's byproducts, and the fuel it sells. Leucadians need to demand these types of changes. When a new gas station is built to the status quo, it is a loss in our fight to keep Leucadia as the last bastion of healthy coastline in southern california.

Up here in Eugene a company called Sequential Biofuels is leading the way. They just opened a 'sustainable' gas station a few blocks from my house that sets an outstanding precedent in the fuel they sells, the building they sell fuel from, and the measures implemented to prevent inevitable gas station pollution. Too bad this wasn't built there in Leucadia off of Highway 101.


Alohas to all my old friends and neighbors. Keep up the good fight!


  1. Good post, Koalani. Nice photos, too, JP.

    We saw them hauling off the wood from the trees. They sure didn't look hollow or rotten. If the trees were still alive, they seemed relatively stable, to me. The City should have comissioned the wood for park benches, etc., whether done by college students or not.

    We left a guardian angel candle. So glad to hear about the goodbye here, on the blog.

    Saw Maggie and Teresa at last night's vigil. There was a Greencinitas deal last Saturday, too, right?

  2. Mystic LeucadianApril 17, 2007 8:49 PM

    Teresa and Maggie both do seem to care about the environment. Yes, the gas station should be held to environmental standards. I think that building the library without so much cement would have been better for the city's budget, our taxpayers' General Fund, and the bonds, etc., and also, better for the environment.

    Robert Wilder, who ran for Council once, before, has an environmental kind of stock investment company, I understand. People are smart enough in this town that we can each, individually, and all, collectively, do so much more to preserve habitat and lower our carbon footprint.

  3. Not to be the lone "stand up for big oil guy" here, but I'm glad the gas station is moving in. I've long wanted to be able to live my life west of the 101, and once it opens, I can. Though it sure seems to be a long time coming for it to open.

    It is a bit close to the apartments, but I don't ever recall this station coming before the City Council, so it was probably already zoned for it (wasn't there an old gas station there before?).

    In regards to the trees, eucalyptus isn't native, so there's no real recourse there.

  4. Ethanol production in the USA is not a sustainalbe fuel and even if was does anyone have any idea how much of the united states would have to be planted with corn for our country to run on it? Isn't it like more than 100%. We don't have more water and parts of the midwest's aquifers are drying up. Not only not sustainable, it is not possible to convert to ethanol using current production practices.

    Ethanol is not sustainalbe because by the time you have produced it you have used almost as much FOSSIL fuel to produce it.

  5. Tom, the trees removed yesterday were Cypress, not eucalyptus.

  6. Roadside park bumApril 18, 2007 11:25 AM

    It's ugly!! (What else is in new in Leucadia?) Is it to remain concrete grey?? When will it be open?? When are they going to tear down the fence?? Is it going to be run by the same Indians/Sihks as the last gas station?? Did anyone ever hear the old man speak?? He never said a word to me!! Just took my $$$ and gave me my change!!

    Why is Koalani giving his/her 2 cents on a gas station that hasn't pumped 1 lousy gallon of gas yet??

    And who cares if the station sells biofuels??

    Wanna save 100's of millions of barrels of oil?? Go nuclear!! Even the most radical wild eyed envirowackos understand that nuclear is the way to go!! Just ask the French!!

    Teresa and Maggie care about the environment, good for them, Q?- Do they care about Leucadia??? Did any of you nutcases ask them about removing the ugly orange sandbags from the tracks, how about asking them about more flowers for the center medians, any one of you ask about lowering the train?? If they care about Leucadia they'll do something for this community besides showing up for "FEEL GOOD" opportunity!!


  7. It sure would be nice to have Biodiesel for sale here. The closest station is too far away to justify making a special trip to fill up there. I'm trying to cut down on my driving. I've got it down to 4000 miles a year. I used to drive 16,000.
    Ethanol is a joke you're right. Just like RSPB's comment about nuclear energy.
    I'm going to convert an old V dub to electric & put solar panels on my house. Sun Power! It's Clean!
    And it's free! I just need fifteen grand to get it going.
    In the mean time I thought buying my diesel Suburban was a good move. It get's 17 m.p.g. & diesel fuel is a by-product of gas. But Bush is allowing the oil companies to rape us.
    I just paid $3.45/gal. for diesel yesterday.
    You realize they don't actually "make" diesel. They refine gas and end up with a waste product called diesel fuel.
    So let's make them put in a tank for Biodiesel.

  8. Roadside park bumApril 18, 2007 12:09 PM

    If nuclear is a joke then why have the French installed close to 100 N.power plants?? If there is any country full of pantie waists it's the French, but at least they understand the need for abundant cheap electrical power.

    Aluminum cans are 5 cents a piece and giant ass plastic bottles are 10 cents. Get started on you "FREE" solar power by recycling.

    RSPB-I walk or ride a bicycle everywhere so I don't care if gas goes to $50.00 a gallon and if you are the bright guy I think you are then you already knew that diesel wasn't cheap. WaaaWaaaaWAAAAA!!!

  9. "Juanitas not the only thing in Leucadia dishing out bad gas"

  10. Anyone who has looked into ethanol knows that, as it stands, ethanol is not as efficient of a fuel as petroleum, and it does take a lot of water and energy to produce, limiting it’s sustainability. This much is true. However the cost, both in energy and dollars, as it stands now is reflective of the relative newness of the technology. We are dealing with ethanol produced mainly from the mid-west corn which:

    1. Can not keep up with demand
    2. Doesn’t substantially lower greenhouse emissions.

    This current corn based ethanol is only the tip of ethanol’s potential. It is the Model T of ethanol. Do yourself a favor and google ‘cellulosic’ ethanol and ‘sugarcane based’ ethanol which are quickly moving to the forefront of the development of ethanol as a fuel.

    Here is a brief synopsis of cellulosic from Wikipedia (I know – questionable info at best, but this is a good breakdown and further research corroborates this info):

    “Ethanol, today, is produced mostly from sugars or starches, obtained from fruits and grains. In contrast, cellulosic ethanol is obtained from cellulose, the main component of wood, straw and much of the plants. Since cellulose cannot be digested by humans, the production of cellulose does not compete with the production of food. The price per ton of the raw material is thus much cheaper than grains or fruits. Moreover, since cellulose is the main components of plants, the whole plant can be harvested. This results in much better yields per acre—up to 10 tons, instead of 4 or 5 tons for the best crops of grain. The raw material is plentiful. Cellulose is present in every plant: straw, grass, wood. Most of these "bio-mass" products are currently discarded. Transforming them into ethanol using efficient and cost effective hemi(cellulase) enzymes or other processes might provide as much as 30% of the current fuel consumption in the US—and probably similar figures in other oil-importing regions like China or Europe. Moreover, even land marginal for agriculture could be planted with cellulose producing crops like switchgrass, resulting in enough production to substitute for all the current oil imports. ”

    Also see:

    To me, sugarcane ethanol is even more promising. The byproduct of making sugar is called bagasse which is made up of the pressed stalks as well as leaves, roots etc. This compound is routinely incinerated to create electricity (and has been sold to the utility in Hawaii for decades) and is capable of providing way more than enough energy to make ethanol out of the sugar, resulting in a 'zero' outside energy (i.e. fossil fuels) consumption (in fact much better than zero) in the production of a viable fuel source. Plus, there is research being done as to viability of making a cellulosic ethanol from the leftover bagasse not needed to power the process, further upping the fuel potential per acre of cane. Look at what Brazil has done with their sugarcane ethanol. They are now 100 percent free of foreign oil and are a model for the USA to follow.

    Essentially, as more funding finds it's way into the development of these and other procedures, the cost of ethanol will likely go down as the volume of production goes up. It is not at all erroneous to think that the cost per gallon of ethanol will be substantially lower than the cost of a gallon of petro in the not so distant future (negating any loss of efficiency per gallon), and the volume will be way up, all while using substantially less water and very little or zero fossil fuels.

    We are moving out of the era in which we will be using one fuel source. A future of ethanol, biodiesel, fuel cells, solar and more (including petroleum), being used in concert is what we are facing. I am a huge supporter of both biodiesel (especially soy or hemp oil based BD) and ethanol and am really hoping for advancements in battery design as well, so that they are less toxic to make and more recyclable, because, the idea of a "tribrid" that runs on a bio fuel and also utilizes hybrid technology is really the way to up mileage AND utilize renewable fuel sources with the technology we already have under our noses. This is not science fiction. All it takes is a change of perspective.




    My point in questioning the new gas station was not to go off on whether or not ethanol is viable as it stands. It was simply to ask if there were alternate fuel sources planned for distribution, and also to inquire if the snazzy art deco design has implemented any of the incredibly simple (and highly tax deductible) “green” ideas to limit it’s impact in Leucadia. It is pretty damm easy to design a building that is almost self sustainable, using local and recycled materials, passive heating and cooling, solar electricity harvesting etc. etc. Even more important is the runoff that this gas station will be responsible for. I lost track of the days I missed surfing in my 8 years living in Leucadia because of rain and runoff. Why not build a gas station that limits that? My point in bringing up Sequential in Oregon, is not that they are selling all types of gas (including traditional petroleum for all the ostriches with their heads in the sand) but that the building itself has also been designed to minimize it’s impact (including runoff - it is uphill from a river) on it’s surroundings.

    You can keep thinking change can't happen (you aren't the only cynic), or you can dig deeper and see for yourself that it is already happening. Have a little faith in American resourcefulness. With some borrowed ideas from Brazil (100 percent free of foreign oil thanks to ethanol), Germany (solar leaders) and China (all of the above), we can free ourselves from petroleum sooner than later. Bio fuels are just one piece of the puzzle. Other, even bigger, pieces are sustainable buildings. A new gas station provides a unique opportunity to make a large impact in terms of both. To see something built to the status quo, with an increased budget to build some faux Art Deco façade (no matter how ‘cool’ it looks – I do kind of like it), while ignoring the potential to not only limit it’s own impact but also be an example for the surrounding community is unfortunate. The debate over the viability of ethanol on a global scale doesn’t change that in the slightest.

    RSPB - Show me how to run my car on nuke energy, or how nukes are 'greener' than a sustainable building with passive heating/cooling and solar electricity (i.e. 'off the energy grid') and I will concede that you are on to something there.


  11. oops - the link for cellulosic ethanol is too long and I dont know how to hotlink it here (haha)...if anyone wants to check it out (it is very informative), just copy and paste it and remove the spaces after org/ and 0505/

    http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/ enews/enews_0505/ enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm

  12. koalani, are you for real? Who will read all that bull___ you posted?

    Nuclear all the way. All we need to do to match the rest of the world is reprocess our waste. Thanks to Jimmy Carter we don't do that. Hell if we did that we might make a nuclear weapon as if we need more. Ask the Iranians if they are going to reprocess?

    There are a bunch of simple minded people out there. We do need to get off oil. Go NUKE.

  13. What we need is a funky fuel!

    This gas stuff is to mundane for funky Leucadia.

  14. We need cars that run on spotted owls. The engine noise from our Hummers will stun them, and we can just pick em up off the ground. (c)- not me, 2004.

  15. For everyone's information who may not already know. The Berri family has built the Art Deco Mobile Station. They have 4 other stations and one reason they've taken so long to build this one is because they wanted it done right so they're in on every detail. They were at the planning stage for about 2 years with the city and the planning commision still didn't like the mundane, everywhere USA design they had first presented. I brought forward pictures of buildings in Leucadia that I like. Top of my list is the Longboard Grotto building. Check it out next time you're by it. It is the coolest authentic Art Deco style building here (though I think the right paint job would show it off better). The Pannikin is more of a Victorian landmark building and although it wasn't originally built where it is now, someone had the vision in the 60's to preserve it by moving it to the (alleged) border of Leucadia and Encinitas. Borrowing a book of cool old gas stations from a friend, I showed the Berri's what their station could look like. Their architect then produced an Art Deco Design, and finally, the planning commision liked it, as did the neighbors. Locals were instrumental in having the car wash and other intensive usages nixed from the original plans. The building is built to take full advantage of sunlight, instead of beneath the large trees (where I think their visibility would have been better). I do not know what green measures they may or may not have planned, but I see no reason to not approach David Berri with green inovations. I like the design they came up with a lot and think it keeps Leucadia unique and in tune with our vintage portion of historic hwy 101. On a green note, I won't be buying gas there at all because I tossed my cares with my car keys.

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