Incredible Adventures proudly proclaim ourselves as San Francisco’s Greenest Tour Provider. Our office operates as a San Francisco Green Business. On the road, our vehicles predominantly run on biofuel – a renewable alternative to petroleum. Recently, a fellow environmentalist called us out on Facebook with a picture comment on our page of our guide filling up at a petroleum pump…
The response to this simple question (“Fueled by Biofuels? Really?!?”) is complex. As the discussion unfolded, it transformed into a teachable moment that we thought opened itself up to a larger audience, and we wanted to talk about it here.
This conversation is bigger than one driver filling up one vehicle for one tour bus company. It’s about the lack of available fueling stations for alternative fuels both in California and across the US. It’s wrapped up in all sorts of red tape at both the state and federal levels. The answer provides an opportunity to educate our communities and the next generation about renewable energies. And ultimately, our answer to ALL of our followers will be best demonstrated through our actions at the micro-level while we continue to do our best to spread the word at the macro-level.
Seeking Biofuel Station
Incredible Adventures strives to run 100% of our fleet with fully petroleum-free alternative biofuels. However, due to the lack of supply in certain areas that we visit, we’re occasionally forced to supplement. In the photo captured, our guide, Aaron, is fueling up at the Tesoro in Oakdale. There are no alternative fuel stations in/near Yosemite National Park. Many stations around California have closed or dropped their alternative fuel selections due to heavy regulations and lack of demand. Although we’re constantly researching fuel stations offering alternative fuel blends in their tanks, this proves difficult in remote areas.
Even though many of our vehicles are capable of traveling our standard routes without the need to fill up with traditional fuel, it is not always possible. It is increasingly difficult on our multi-day tours to maintain non-petroleum fuel in our vehicles throughout the entire trip. This particular photo was taken during Aaron’s overnight tour through Yosemite. Travelling from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park and back (round-trip) is impossible on a single tank of biofuel. With our mini-coaches’ smaller tanks, we maximize our usage of biofuel and supplement with diesel given the availability in the surrounding area. We train our drivers to fuel up with the least amount of petroleum fuel as possible. If you see our vehicles fueling at traditional gas stations, they are often only putting in the number of gallons it requires for us to safely return to Dogpatch Biofuels back in the city.
Incredible Adventures has been running on non-petroleum-based fuels since 2003. In order to secure a more consistent flow of biofuels, our owners bought Dogpatch Biofuel in 2010. It’s the only alternative fueling station in San Francisco open to the public, benefitting not only our fleet, but also the community at large. We’re proud to say that all of our vehicles leave the city for their trips with 100% renewable fuel. Since 2008 the station has sold 666,133.7 gallons of none petroleum fuel, offsetting the equivalent of 15,860.32 barrels of oil. Our dedication to reducing tailpipe emissions in our fleet and community exceeds the efforts of any other privately held transportation company.
Fighting for Biofuels
Alternative fuels are fighting for survival against strong Big Oil lobbyists and motor companies. These interests are increasing restrictions to commercial alternative fuel in California, and reducing spend on alternative fuel research. You can often find our owners on the front lines of this Big Oil battle: our company engages in the promotion and education of alternative fuels and their benefits, and the owners and staff have spent countless hours lobbying both at the local and state levels. Once we even volunteered at a Willie Nelson concert with ReVerb to advocate for renewable alternatives. Willie’s a strong supporter of biofuels!
Most recently our owner, Brian Deninger, spoke on a panel at the Green Transportation Summit and Expo in Portland. The conference encouraged municipal and private fleets to embrace the adoption of non-petroleum fuels as a tool to slow global warming and reduce carbon emissions. These efforts do not only have a local impact, but also lasting impact globally.
It’s important to gather legislative support for wider distribution of Biofuel and alternative energies. Increasing access to fueling stations will allow our fleet to run higher volumes of alternative fuel on our tours, and will allow us to provide retail fuel customers with more sustainable options as well.
Worth the Costs
We know that doing the right thing for our environment’s future can make for tough financial decisions. We encourage business owners to make those decisions anyway! Incredible Adventures is committed to finding sustainable solutions at the state, national, and global stages, and we encourage citizens in tourism and other sectors to consider petroleum alternatives as often as they can.
As we venture to priceless destinations like Yosemite National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, and beyond, we’ve got to work together sustainably! We know that travel positively impacts our souls, but ironically (and inevitably), it causes negative impacts on our environment. We’re constantly reviewing how we can do better, and hope that consumers everywhere will do the same.
So thank you to our allies online, on the road, and across the globe that are monitoring the playing field. We need more watchdogs out there to keep us all in check. Our goal to run completely petroleum-free is ongoing – but it’s not beyond reach. Stay tuned and join us as we continue to campaign for sustainability!