Quick Hits: Driving On Water
Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.
Okay, maybe not all gas stations. But the West Coast's first retail hydrogen fueling station opened in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Amid a row of pumps spewing out regular gas for $4.59 per gallon, this Shell (RDS-B) station boasts one special pump that produces and dispenses hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen, made from natural gases and water, has surfaced as one of the newest environmentally-friendly alternatives to gasoline.
In an attempt to stay afloat in a sea of climate change, soaring gas prices and consumer bitterness, a handful of car manufacturers have begun producing hydrogen-powered vehicles. The cars emit water vapor, instead of exhaust - a big part of their hype.
So how do you get your hands on one of these H2O bad boys? That's the downside: They're not available to the public just yet. General Motors (GM) has only released 80 of its Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as part of a market test. BMW has lent out several Hydrogen 7 Series sedans, although these have fallen exclusively into celebrity hands. And Honda (HMC) will soon lease 200 FCX Clarity fuel-cell cars - for $600 a month.
This plan isn't without its drawbacks. "Making hydrogen from natural gas doesn't solve your fossil fuel-global warming problem," Joseph Romm, author of The Hype About Hydrogen, told NPR. "You still end up with greenhouse gas: carbon dioxide."
Even if the H2O cars do prove greener than their gas-guzzling counterparts, the hippiest of the hippies will likely find the $600,000 price tag on the Chevrolet Equinox a bit steep.
A world that runs on Evian rather than Exxon (XOM) is inching closer, but it isn't here yet.
For more on alternative energy, check out Hoofy and Boo's always astute report:
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