Hydrogen highway

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 11, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In his first "State of the State" address in 2003, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he intended to "show the world that economic growth and the environment can co-exist" and that the place to do it would be the "Hydrogen Highway", a planned network of hydrogen refueling stations along California's highways.  The administration’s goal was to have 100 fuel stations by 2010.

Recent developments, however, cast doubt on the likelihood of meeting that target, with three stations closing operations and plans for others put on hold.  Particularly significant is the decision by Pacific Gas & Electric to scrap plans to build a large scale, retail station in San Carlos.  

The lack of additional fueling stations – there are currently 23 in the state – means that in the near-term, at least, the public will have a limited choice of supply options, which creates problems for the long-term viability of the Hydrogen Highway.  A number of automobile companies are planning to unveil hydrogen vehicles in the next few years with the expectation that additional stations will open, making it more practical for consumers who at present are located a considerable distance from the closest fueling station.  The main consumers at stations now are government agencies that are part of demonstration projects.

The recent setbacks have gotten the attention of the California Air Resources Board, whose chair, Mary Nichols, recently convened an all-party meeting to review the status of proposed projects and how to get the proposed highway network back on track.

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