Is hydrogen fuel cheaper than gasoline?

On average, gas cars get 30 mpg and midsize gasoline hybrids get 42 mpg. As can be seen in the figure, the cost of FCV fuel is three times higher per mile than a gasoline hybrid and twice as high as that of a conventional gasoline vehicle. Other ways to store hydrogen are being developed, including the chemical bonding of hydrogen with a material such as metal hydride or low-temperature sorbent materials. While renewable sources of hydrogen, such as agricultural and waste sites, are increasing, most of the hydrogen obtained as fuel comes from traditional natural gas extraction.

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) combine hydrogen stored in a tank with oxygen in the air to produce electricity, with water vapor as a by-product. Hydrogen is one of those fuels that has the potential to be a cheaper, more efficient and cleaner alternative to gasoline. Honda and Toyota have partnered with a subsidiary of Shell Oil to build new hydrogen service stations in California. There are currently 39 public hydrogen stations in California (with another 25 under development), along with a couple in Hawaii.

Several distribution centers use hydrogen to power material handling vehicles in their normal operations. Although the production of hydrogen can generate emissions that affect air quality, depending on the source, an FCEV that runs on hydrogen only emits water vapor and hot air as exhaust and is considered a zero-emission vehicle. In fact, a fuel cell attached to an electric motor is two or three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine that runs on gasoline. In California, the debate continues as to whether the subsidies offered by the state to boost the fuel cell market have amortized investment, judging by the limited use of service stations and the lack of profits.

Ford has experimented with fuel cell variants of its Focus and Fusion cars, as well as with the Edge crossover, but doesn't offer any of those vehicles for sale. There are dozens of fuel cell buses in use or planned in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Massachusetts, as well as in California. The co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has dismissed hydrogen fuel cells as stunningly stupid, and that's not the only negative thing he's said about the technology. Unlike most common battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles don't need to be plugged in, and all current models exceed 300 miles of range with a full tank of fuel.

Constant fluctuations in the price of gasoline, as well as environmental concerns related to the burning of fossil fuels, lead more and more drivers to consider vehicles that use alternative fuels. The interest in hydrogen as an alternative fuel for transport is due to its ability to power fuel cells in zero-emission vehicles, its potential for domestic production and the fast filling time and high efficiency of the fuel cell.

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