Despite California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s executive order four years ago that “hundreds of hydrogen fueling stations” be built in the state, nary a station has been built under the program. Depending on whom you ask, the blame for the sputtering “hydrogen highway” lies with: energy companies and utilities, for not stepping forward to take state matching money to build stations; automakers, for not making enough hydrogen fuel cell cars; Democratic lawmakers, for mandating that the hydrogen be produced in a way that reduces greenhouse gases overall; Schwarzenegger, for under-researching and over-promising; and plain old complex bureaucracy. Mary Nichols, chair of the state Air Resources Board, is still optimistic that 50 to 100 stations will be built under the problem by 2015. If so, that will be handy for the drivers of the 175 hydrogen vehicles running in California, but most experts expect that general retail of the vehicles is at least a decade out.

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