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Calif. May Build 'Hydrogen Highway'

A $100 million plan touted by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to put a "hydrogen highway" of fueling stations along major interstates draws a positive response.
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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's call for a "hydrogen highway" in his State of the State speech got a positive reaction in the San Francisco area, television station KNTV reported.

At the California Fuel Cell Partnership in West Sacramento, mechanic Luke Roina loves starting a hydrogen fuel cell prototype car because it barely makes a sound.

Hydrogen-fueled cars also produce no emissions.

Those are just some of the many reasons Schwarzenegger is pushing for the mass production of nonpolluting cars.

The hydrogen highway Schwarzenegger referred to in his speech is a highway of fueling stations located along major interstate highways, according to an state environmental protection agency official.

California Environmental Secretary Terry Tamminen is the man behind Schwarzenegger's plan to make the hydrogen highway a reality.

He says there is a good reason it doesn't exist already.

"The energy companies don't want to make hydrogen fueling stations because there are no vehicles and the vehicle-makers don't want to produce vehicles because there are no fueling stations. So we are trying to break that chicken or egg cycle," he said.

By the year 2010, the governor hopes to have nearly 200 hydrogen fueling stations up and running.

Tamminen says it will take about $100 million in public and private dollars to help companies build them.

At the University of California at Davis, those who have been leading the world's research on hydrogen cars are glad to see the governor finally jump starting the mass-production process.

UC Davis's Dan Sperling told the station, "It will be good for the company eventually, but it will be good for society. So, we need the government to provide some rewards." Prototype mechanics say once mass-produced, a hydrogen car's peppy performance will reward drivers, too.

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