A hydrogen vehicle at an Iwatani hydrogen fuel station in West Sacramento on July 25, 2023. Credit: Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters

Re: “Hardly anyone owns a hydrogen car. California may pay up to $300 million for fuel stations anyway

I drive a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle. The car is great, but there are not enough fueling stations – yet – to make this a viable option for many people.

California subsidized battery and hybrid EVs for decades. It took that long (and more than $5 per gallon gasoline) to make them a viable alternative for some drivers, but they are still not the best option for everyone. Range and charging times for electric vehicles have improved, but are still not as good as my Hyundai Nexo.

I can fill my car in minutes and leave with 375 miles in range. That is far preferable for people who drive a lot or live in apartment buildings where it is hard to install EV chargers.

And hydrogen can be carbon neutral. A system recently installed at the port of Long Beach uses landfill gas to make hydrogen, emitting less carbon than burning the gas and producing enough hydrogen to fill 240 fuel cell EVs per day.

Excess wind and solar energy can also be used to separate hydrogen from water with virtually no carbon output.

We need more transportation options to support California’s climate goals, not fewer. Hydrogen for personal vehicles should be part of the solution and California should continue making strategic investments in hydrogen until the chicken-or-egg dilemma is past us – as it has done with many other new energy technologies.

State leaders are divided over the role hydrogen will play in the energy transition over the next two decades. Proposed hydrogen blending projects that would transport hydrogen using natural gas pipelines are not worth the safety risk or emissions creation, says a policy advocate.

By Gregg Fishman. Gregg Fishman is a member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Board of Directors. This reaction reflects his opinion alone.

This article was originally published by CalMatters.