Gas Station to Pump Hydrogen

Skeptics wonder if hydrogen cars of the future will be powered mainly by an old-fashioned indigenous source of energy: politics.

Published: 05-Mar-2003

INGTON, March 4 — Drivers of some General Motors minivans will soon be pulling into a Shell station here to fill up on hydrogen, the two companies announced today. They said it would be the first hydrogen pump at an American service station and that hydrogen cars could be in showrooms by the end of the decade.

But skeptics wonder if these supposed cars of the future will be powered mainly by an old-fashioned indigenous source of energy: politics. Critics say these experimental cars will be cruising Washington mainly to impress Congress so that the auto industry gets more subsidies and feels less pressure to improve the fuel efficiency of current cars.

Hydrogen-powered cars became Washington's hot wheels during the State of the Union speech in January, when President Bush proposed more research and predicted that the cars could be commercially practical by 2020.

The cars, which emit only water vapor from their tailpipes, could help reduce pollution and oil consumption, but some experts wonder if they will ever be affordable.

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