WASHINGTON -- President Bush stared inquisitively down into the nozzle of a hydrogen fuel hose on Wednesday, then pumped the fuel into a blue compact car as he renewed his plea for Congress to pass a wide-ranging energy bill, said the Associated Press.
But with the cost of hydrogen double that of premium gasoline, even the president acknowledged that seeing today's children take their driver's tests in pollution-free cars is a long-term goal. "This is the beginning of fantastic technology," Bush said at a Shell station in northeast Washington, the first [image-nocss] retail hydrogen and gasoline fueling station in North America. "Hydrogen is the wave of the future. We're too dependent on foreign sources of energy."
Bush wants an energy bill, among other things, to support the future use of hydrogen instead of gasoline.
Rick Scott, operations and safety coordinator at the station, helped Bush pump 1.83 kilograms into the four-door parked at the pump. Scott said the hydrogen cost $4.75 a kilogram, which is equal to a gallon of gas, but noted that the 1.83 kilograms would power the car twice as farabout 100 miles.
"Congress has been talking too long about the energy bill," said Bush, who is pushing for federal funding to back research of hydrogen-powered vehicles. "I think the American people are tired of waiting. I'm getting a little tired of waiting on the energy bill. I want to see the bill to my desk."
Cars running on fuel cells that produce energy by mixing hydrogen with oxygen are already on the road and Bush has pushed a $1.7 billion hydrogen research program. Administration officials have said it is possible fuel cell cars will be mass marketed in 15 years.
Most major automakers are developing hydrogen fuel cells that could begin appearing commercially within about two decades. Many say the cost of the vehicles and a lack of fueling stations make them unmarketable for now.
For the full text of Bush's remarks, click here.