Hydrogen-fueled Cars: Not a Panacea, But a Good Start

Editorial sees hybrid-electrics as making the most sense for reducing imports and improving efficiency.

Published: 02-Feb-2003

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KNIGHT RIDDER TRIBUNE

In an act of political brilliance, President Bush, in his State of the Union speech, stole the Holy Grail of environmentalism: the hydrogen-powered, fuel-cell car.

For two decades, environmentalists have held out the "hydrogen economy" as the pollution-free future for transportation. Unfortunately, it also has had about it the whiff of a free lunch.

The theory is this: Hydrogen is fed into a fuel cell on a vehicle and, to quote the president, "a simple chemical reaction" produces electricity, which powers the vehicle and leaves no emissions save water. In a trice, with a fuel-cell vehicle, pollution disappears along with dependence on imported oil. It is an appetizing prospect.

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