Senator, President Call for Hydrogen Fueled Cars

Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) called for a major national effort to help free the United States from its continuing reliance on foreign oil by developing hydrogen fuel cell energy technologies that will allow the nation’s transportation sector to move beyond its reliance on petroleum.

Washington, D.C. – January 29, 2003 [] Last night, President George W. Bush, addressing the nation with the annual State of the Union speech, announced his own US$1.2 billion program “in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles.” “We are increasingly dependent on Middle East oil,” Dorgan said. “Fossil fuels will always be an important part of our energy picture, but we need to develop alternatives that don’t leave us so reliant on other countries.” Dorgan noted the method of powering automobiles hasn’t changed since the Model T Ford and called for an ambitious 10-year, public-private initiative to develop vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. “We need a new, bold initiative – in the spirit of the Apollo moon-landing project — this time focused on breaking our country’s dependence on Middle East Oil,” Dorgan said. “We need to make the commitment to do this and then focus the resources to get the job done. Moving to a hydrogen based future for transportation will be good for our economy, our energy future, and our environment.” His plan would invest US$6.5 billion over 10 years to fund research and development of fuel cell technologies and infrastructure; launch pilot projects; direct the federal government to adopt fuel cell vehicles and stationary fuel cells, and provide tax incentives for the purchase of fuel cell vehicles, infrastructure, and stationary fuel cells. “The dangers to the American economy’s over-reliance on Middle Eastern oil are apparent to everyone,” Dorgan said. “We need to take steps now to increase our energy independence and energy security. We need to find other ways to power our transportation sector, the fastest growing user of energy in this country,” said Dorgan. “Converting America’s automobile fleet to fuel cell vehicles isn’t something that is going to happen overnight, but it’s never going happen if we don’t dedicate the necessary resources and make it a priority,” said Dorgan. “Otherwise we’ll be putting gas in our cars in 2030 the same way we have since 1930. I’m proposing we set the goal to make vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells the norm in 25 to 50 years, by making a decision to support and develop new technology now. If we make the decision to aggressively pursue fuel cell technologies now, we’ll be able to pole vault over current technology and transform our energy future.”

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