California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s initiative for a “hydrogen highway” was nothing more than a tax-payer funded boondoggle that ignored scientific realities and market forces. Given the governor’s somber state-of-the-state address delivered just days ago, market forces seem to have won.
As originally envisioned, the plan would subsidize 100 hydrogen fueling stations around California by 2010–at roughly $1.5 million a pop. Today there are 23 stations and the the last three agencies to accept state funding have decided not to pursue the project. These include the goliath Pacific Gas & Electric’s recent decision to abandon building a key Bay Area fueling station in San Carlos. In addition, three stations have recently closed, including one that served county buses.
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This is a big reason that I disagree with government-funded (or mandated) research into fuels. If it can be done, the private sector will figure out how to do it more efficiently than the government could ever hope to. All that has been accomplished is wasting the taxpayer’s money which could have been spent on projects that could actually have had some benefit to the community. Guess it made everybody feel really good that they were doing “something for the environment”. What was it that that they accomplished for the environment again? Oh, yeah, nothing.