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Saturday, August 13, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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A new choice for Eastsiders' cars: biodiesel

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Starting today, Eastsiders will be able to gas up their cars with clean-burning biodiesel fuel from a new station in Issaquah.

It will be the first full-service biodiesel station on the Eastside and one of only a handful in King County.

The fuel will be sold at The Grange, 145 N.E. Gilman Blvd., a widely known Issaquah farm-supply store.

Made from soybeans by Seattle Biodiesel, the fuel costs about $3.20 a gallon but is biodegradable and burns cleaner than regular diesel. It can be used in any vehicle that runs on diesel, including some Volkswagens, Mercedes and Jeeps, many pickups, commercial vehicles and boats. It can also be used for home-heating systems.

"This opens up biodiesel to a whole new group of people," said Rob Elam, co-founder of Propel Fuels, a network of biodiesel stations that partnered with The Grange to offer the fuel.

He said he thought that Eastsiders, plagued by congested roads and slightly more conservative than their Seattle neighbors, would welcome biodiesel.

"Environmentalists like biodiesel, but there's also the made-in-America angle," Elam said. "More conservative-leaning people like that it's made in the U.S.A. and doesn't support foreign oil."

The availability of biodiesel, which consumers had barely heard of just a few years ago, has been growing slowly.

Laurelhurst Oil, another Propel Fuels station, opened in Seattle in May.

For about three years enthusiasts have been gassing up at Dr. Dan's Alternative Fuel Werks in Ballard. Seattle Biodiesel, the Northwest's first large biodiesel factory, also opened this spring.

Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or nsinger@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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