The United States has no energy policy. Every administration budgets money for its pet project, leaving the projects from the previous administrations in a lurch. Why? Charlie Freese is General Motor’s executive director for fuel cell activities. He was also a keynote speaker at the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy 2011 in Washington DC.

How much time and money is wasted when we could give each competing energy, electricity and hydrogen, the same amount of money and let them go to work on the cars while the government goes to work on the infrastructure? Both cars are in early adoption phase, able to go forward, but the infrastructure on both are lacking.

General Motors laid out the history of infrastructures: Back in 1921 Congress shot down Woodrow Wilsons’ idea of a national highway infrastructure. In 1933 Hitler built the Autobahn so that he could mobilize his troops and move about the country quickly. Dwight Eisenhower spearheaded a national highway system  during his Presidency. In today’s dollars it would have cost $460 billion. A hydrogen infrastructure will cost about $25 billion, less than what it cost to build the Alaskan Pipeline. The Alaskan Pipeline provides a fraction of the country’s energy needs and has to be dismantled in 2032.

With 1.1 billion cars and trucks on the face of the planet by 2020, we have no choice but to invest in renewables. Fuel cells and batteries are the only known technologies that get you there. Germany, Korea and Japan are all building a national hydrogen infrastructure. China is strongly considering it. Where are we as a country?

According to the Foreign Trade division of the Census Bureau imported oil will cost the United States about 270 Billion dollars for 2010. Bob Tippee, editor of the Oil and Gas Journal, extrapolated the yearly refined motor gasoline from imported oil. Tippee estimates that we are paying 113 billion dollars for imported oil refined into motor gasoline for 2010. We still have no energy policy and no competition against oil, until today.

And yet our Congress can’t put $70 million in the budget to help create a domestic energy to compete against a foreign trade deficit.

As my Momma used to say, they may have dollars, but they got no sense.

Click on the picture to hear Charlie Freese on the John Batchelor radio show


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