ByJustin Gammill

Apr 30, 2014

HydrogenHighway1As a natively born son of the great state of Texas, it’s just instinctual for me to cock an eyebrow and shake my head at just about anything that the state of California does.

I mean come on; this is the state that routinely sets its self on fire (Watts Riots in 1965. LA Riots in 1992 and 2013. Even a surfer riot in 2013, in Huffington Beach) (and no, It was not totally tubular). It’s the state that has laws against throwing footballs and Frisbees on the beach … (unless you ask a lifeguard for permission). It’s the state that claims to recycle 116% of the plastics it sells. (I’m no math-magician, but that sounds sketchy.)

Then again, Texas is the state that banned the entire Encyclopedia Britannica because it has a formula for homemade beer. So with that, I have to begrudgingly admit, California might be on the right track in one area: Zero Emission Vehicles.

More specifically: Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles.
California is leading the charge in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standards by reviving a plan that was put into action 10 years ago by the Terminator himself (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) known as the “Hydrogen Highway”. The original plan was to build 50 to 100 hydrogen stations across the state by 2010. The plan apparently hit a roadblock considering that as of right now, in the entire state, there are 9 hydrogen stations. Total.

The roadblock was that the money to build the stations, which cost about 2 million dollars apiece, was slated to come from, of all places, the Oil Industry.

You read that right: California was forcing the Oil Industry to phase itself out. Brilliant! I’m sure they will get right on that. That’s like asking a politician to change the rules that got them elected. Unfortunately, the big oil companies took issue with “being forced to fund its own demise”, and they threatened to sue the state over the mandate. According to Tupper Hull, a spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association, “It was our view that the regulation exceeded the Air Resources Board’s legal authority”. Jerry Brown, the current governor, decided that instead of tying the process up in legal battles, a compromise was needed. Instead of the oil companies paying for the hydrogen infrastructure required for the ZEV program, the money would come from vehicle registration fees.

But California didn’t stop there. They are REQUIRING vehicle manufacturers to attain a certain number of Zero Emission Vehicle credits based on the number of gasoline vehicles produced and delivered for sale in the state. They’ve also already awarded 36 million dollars for the construction of hydrogen filling stations.

So Why The Hydrogen Hype?”

By Justin Gammill

He is "stealthy like a ninja at midnight, yet brazen like a champion Mexican fighting chicken". Justin Gammill approaches his topics in a manner that provokes thought, laughter, and the occasional “did he just say that?”. Chances are, yes, he most certainly did just say that. So, buckle up … you never know where the train of thought is going.