Reader Question: Why not Hydrogen?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Joe asks: Why can’t all the car manufacturers get together and build the infrastructure to refuel cars that can use hydrogen? I spoke to a BMW engineer who told me about eight years ago that they took a stock V8-powered car and added another fuel tank for hydrogen. It was a dual fuel car; run out of hydrogen it would switch over to run on unleaded auto fuel. They ran this vehicle for 100,000 miles on hydrogen without any problems, zero emissions out the tailpipe . Just water vapor. This BMW engineer also said that all current IC cars are able to run on hydrogen. No new technology required . This is one way to circumvent the politicians and government fatwas. What is going on ?

My reply: Why bother?

Gasoline is abundant, cheaper and easier (again). There isn’t any reason to build hydrogen-fueled cars. Which brings us to the reason for all of this “alternative” insanity – including especially the EV insanity:  It is the means by which the elites intend to get the majority of people out of cars.

I used to think this was a way-out-there assertion, too. But, consider some facts:

Modern car IC engines are nearly emissions-free, in terms of combustion byproducts that cause smog and affect human health.

The supply of oil is apparently vastly more than ever imagined; we are in no danger of “running out” of oil.

Electric cars cause at least as much carbon dioxide to be produced in the aggregate (via their manufacturer, especially of their batteries and also by the generation of the electricity they run on) as IC cars do at the tailpipe – so if “climate change” is caused by vehicular C02 output, then replacing IC cars with EV cars is not going to “save the planet.”

The above isn’t conjecture or opinion; it’s incontestable fact.

What conclusion is to be drawn, then?

The people running the show are many things but imbecilic they are not. I don’t mean the interchangeable useful idiots/opportunists known as politicians. I mean the people who own the politicians and use them as one does pieces on a chessboard.

Once you understand that there is no reason – in terms of energy scarcity or human health – for this very aggressive top-down push for the EV in spite of all the obvious problems and in spite of the absence of any legitimate problem to justify it, you realize the true nature of the problem, from the perspective of the elites who run the show:


How to eliminate or greatly restrict and control our mobility, which is the last real vestige of meaningful freedom we still enjoy.

If hydrogen worked – if it were cheaper/easier/better than gasoline – a reason would be found to suppress it. Note that CNG – which is cheaper/easier/better than electricity – has been suppressed (by deliberate neglect).

Ask yourself why.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. Probably very few people know that even propane transfer hoses have tiny holes every few mm’s since propane will find a way, like all compressed gasses, to escape. Try installing a non-propane hose fitting on one and it will soon have a huge bubble around it and then burst and leak.

    We’re speaking of 300 lbs of pressure. Compressed hydrogen requires a vessel that can contain 10,000 lbs of pressure. I once tested compress gas bottles for a company that dealt in compressed gases. The testing procedure is done with a compressor that uses water and takes it to 10,000 lbs. Almost any amount of “stretch”(and I do mean ANY)and the container is deemed unfit. I can’t imagine the cost and size of a transfer hose for hydrogen and wouldn’t want to be in a vehicle run by it. A good wreck and there’d be reports of a “huge” bomb going off. That part would be accurate. Naw, I’ll pass on hydrogen power thank you.

    Besides that, it takes a huge amount of power to obtain and compress hydrogen. Think of it like this, you have a big building that’s about 3 stories tall. Inside there are two story engines, not motors, but natgas engines in there running full out just to get a little hydrogen. There’s a reason why the stuff is expensive…..and dangerous.

  2. Difficult to impossible to produce, transport or store at scale. H2 molecules are so small they will eventually leak out of any practical tank. Liquefaction requires an enormous amount of energy to cool and compress the gas and increased volume for a Dewar flask. Binding hydrogen to a few carbon atoms makes a huge difference.

    When news stories point out how many “homes” a solar or wind farm will power I always think “yes, but how many alternative fuel processing facilities, factories, and computer networks will it run?” Of course the answer is a fraction of one. I’m actually coming around to the idea of using plant-based sugars/alcohols instead of fossil fuels, but it would require the political will to eliminate all the cane sugar import restrictions so that Caribbean and Central American producers could grow high yield sugarcane and bring it into the US. The US doesn’t have the climate for wide scale production, but using waste heat from nuclear power could augment and extend the growing season, at a greatly increased cost.

    But by far the easier path would be to make more fuel efficient vehicles. This means putting them on a diet and squeezing more efficiency (even though the gains are less than incremental on that front). But it seems like as soon as an engine gets more output for given input someone comes along and uses it for something other than moving the vehicle.

    • Thanks to Uncle’s safety fatwas, cars can’t be slimmed down. Back in the day, smaller, 4 cyl cars didn’t weigh much over 2,000#; now they’re hitting 2,500#. That’s a lot of extra weight to lug around, and it takes fuel to move it. Look at the old Geo Metro with a 5 speed stick; that could easily hit 45-50 mpg highway, or the same that the Prius does today. The difference is that the Metro was LIGHT, so it only needed a 3 cyl. engine to move it; small engine+light weight=fuel efficient car.

  3. Not to mention that most H2 is obtained by splitting apart methane, CH4. This uses energy, not to mention-gasp-adds carbon! One can also obtain H2 by splitting water. In either case, obtaining H2 requires energy. Ergo, the energy gained from H2 is lost by obtaining it.

    Also, H2 doesn’t have the energy density of gasoline.

    As Eric said, why bother?