A 2003 report claims that the Bush administration's hydrogen economy initiative stops short of offering an affordable and efficient solution to U.S. dependence on foreign oil in the near future. David Morris, vice president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, told Sojourners, "We can get to the same goal 20 years sooner at 1 percent of the cost if we embrace an ethanol strategy."
Morris' research shows that hydrogen production requires much more energy and money than ethanol implementation (from sources such as sugar), and ethanol production offers clear economic development opportunities for local communities. "Sugar refineries tend to be small-scale operations compared to oil refineries," said Morris.
- 600,000 - Estimated number of households that could hold equity in local U.S. biorefineries if each operation drew 400 investors.
- $600,000 - The cost of converting a gas station to hydrogen.
- $50,000 - The cost of converting a gas station to ethanol.
- $4-to-$8 - The current cost of hydrogen per gallon of gasoline equivalent.
- $1.50-to-$2 - The current cost of ethanol per gallon of gasoline equivalent.
Source: "A Better Way to Get From Here to There," by David Morris, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, December 2003.