Hydrogen fuel infrastructure plans gain new hope
California’s plans concerning an expansion hydrogen fuel infrastructure, often referred to as the state’s “hydrogen highway” due to the proximity fueling stations would have to the state’s highways, has been struggling to make any significant progress in recent years. The initiative is meant to prepare the state for the launch of hydrogen-powered vehicles, which are expected to arrive in California from most major automakers beginning in 2015. California is one of the most favored markets for the auto industry, but without a working hydrogen fuel infrastructure, hydrogen-powered vehicles are not likely to find much success. Governor Jerry Brown has made a move that may signal new life for the struggling hydrogen highway initiative.
100 new stations to be built by 2024
Governor Brown has approved a new plan that calls for the construction of 100 new hydrogen fuel stations throughout California by 2024. These stations will help bolster the state’s hydrogen fuel infrastructure, thereby improving the attractiveness of hydrogen-powered vehicles to drivers interested in reducing their environmental impact. The problem, however, may come in the form of funding. The new stations are not inexpensive, and drivers are expected to cover the cost of this endeavor through fees associated with vehicle registration.
Drivers to help fund development of hydrogen fuel stations
Last year, the California Air and Resources Board required oil companies to pay for the construction of new hydrogen fuel stations. Many oil companies took exception to this requirement and threatened to sue the state. Governor Brown has since reached a compromise with these companies that shifts the financial burden of construction to the state’s drivers.
Fees expected to be modest
State officials suggest that the fees imposed on drivers will be modest. Fees will range from $3 for vehicle registration to $8 in smog abatement fees for new vehicles. California is expected to raise approximately $180 million annually through such fees, much of which will go toward funding the construction of new hydrogen fuel stations throughout the state. Each station is estimated to cost approximately $2 million to build.