Over the years, I’ve talked many times about the cost of building a nationwide hydrogen fueling infrastructure. The critics often throw out a high ball figure of $500 billion in order to replicate the current amount of gasoline dispensing stations nationwide. This is an errant figure meant to scare people about even thinking about putting up a nationwide hydrogen fueling station infrastructure.
Those who are more hydrogen-friendly use estimates that are in the $4 billion to $24 billion range. Now, why is this important? Currently, President Obama is trying to cut $4 billion per year in subsidies to the Big Oil companies. Now, in the 4th quarter of 2010 Exxon’s profit was a cool $9.25 billion. And, this was for one quarter and this was only one oil company. Now, BP with Gulf Oil Spill to pay off came in with its own fourth quarter profits of over $4 billion.
Does Big Oil really need our money? In April 2008, I had talked about how the Rocky Mountain Institute had estimated a nationwide rollout of hydrogen fueling stations would cost around $4.1 billion. At the same time I also quoted Larry Burns of General Motors saying, ““A network of 12,000 hydrogen stations in the United States would put 70 percent of the U.S. population within two miles of a fueling station. If the stations cost $2 million each (estimates for the cost of a station range from $1 million to $4 million) the network would cost about $24 billion.”
In April 2010, I had talked about a company called Lumber Liquidators taking it upon themselves to put up an East Coast Hydrogen Highway system consisting of 11 fueling stations at the cost of $15 million to $20 million or less than $2 million per station.
Now, let’s say that Mr. Burns figure of $24 billion is close to correct in regard to building hydrogen fueling stations nationwide. If we were to cut and redirect the Big Oil subsidies of $4 billion per year for the next 6 years to building hydrogen fueling stations, we would be in business.
Hydrogen car manufacturers would start rolling out H2 vehicles because the fueling stations are either in place or being built. And because hydrogen cars are being built, this would encourage those seeking some of the $4 billion in subsidies to build more hydrogen fueling stations.
For the critics who have squawked for the past 10 or more years that building hydrogen fueling stations would be too expensive, is it not too expensive to keep giving $4 billion a year in subsidies to the fat cat Oil Companies? What have they done with these subsidies – keep our fuel prices low and affordable?