The good news, for the domestic fossil fuel types, is that US oil production went up. The better news is that more people bought hybrids, plug-ins and high-fuel-economy vehicles, theoretically cutting their gasoline purchases as a result. And yet there remains some bad news for the domestic economy, as average US household spending on gasoline neared record highs last year.
Standardizing refueling systems isn't a quick process, and a new set of fueling standards for hydrogen stations were about 13 years in the making. But SAE International (SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers) said this week that it finally settled on a hydrogen refueling standard for light-duty vehicles. For the record, it's called SAE J2601.
OK, but let's see how well Honda can control hydrogen refueling temperature in Houston or Buffalo. That's what some pessimists may be saying now that the Japanese automaker has installed a fast-fueling hydrogen station in the oh-so-temperate environs of Torrance, CA. That city is about 20 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles and a sliver of it actually touches the Pacific Ocean, so we're not talking about wild swings in air temperature here.
Last week, California regulators approved a bill that will fund more fleet purchases of zero-emissions vehicles while setting up a network of hydrogen refueling stations throughout the most populous US state.
The Hydrogen Superhighway isn't much more than a dirt path right now, with just 27 hydrogen refueling stations installed in the entire world last year, Green Car Reports says, citing Fuel Cell Today. North America was home to eight new hydrogen stations, and five stations were added in Germany. The 27 stations mark a 15-percent increase from 2011 totals.
"A lot of auto makers believe the fuel-cell vehicle is just a better performing vehicle and just makes more sense." So says Kevin See, a senior analyst of electric vehicles at Lux Research in Boston, told CNN. It's not a surprising thing to say, but it again shows commitments by automakers to develop hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have been increasing lately. Toyota, Hyundai, Daimler and Honda all see them as vital alternative energy options, perhaps even more important than battery-electric vehicl