Hydrogen Fuel Cells vs. Natural Gas

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For many years, politicians, scientists and even civilians have voiced their opinions of the United States’ high usage of oil. These legitimate concerns have raised questions surrounding what steps should be taken in an effort to minimize the country’s dependency on other countries for this resource. Scientists continue to work on more reliable solutions in relation to this dilemma. Past research has shown that hydrogen fuel cells can quite possibly replace the country’s current usage of oil while having a more positive effect on the environment. However, environmentalists have conducted their own contradicting research on fuel cells reflecting negative effects on the environment. Numerous articles have been published which express both sides of this debate. Although some scientists believe hydrogen fuel cells will improve the environment and rid the United States of their dependency upon other countries, others believe it will not benefit the economy but result in two giant steps back. While natural gas has had a direct negative effect on the Ozone Layer, scientists have found an element that allegedly causes no additional threat to global warming, hydrogen fuel cells. The negative effects that oil has had on the environment have been a major factor in the manufacturing of cars that contain hydrogen fuel cells. Recently, multiple car dealerships have begun manufacturing cars that contain replacements of the internal combustion engine with hydrogen fuel cells. Jim Motavalli, editor of E. Magazine, writes, “A hydrogen car emits no pollution or global warming gases, aside from what might have resulted from producing the hydrogen itself,” (105). This is what scientists have been seeking to accomplish. Motavalli also states, “The only byproducts are heat and water,” (105). Given these two facts, one can observe the advanced technology hydrogen fuel cells may have to offer. Because the exact emissions from the hydrogen fuel cells are created through natural elements, it is possible that fuel cells may pose no direct threat to the environment. Natural oil emits carbon dioxide which contains toxins that pollute the air. As a result of this, scientists are concluding that they may have reached their goal of creating a car that is “healthy” for the environment. Environment and fuel efficient cars can be expensive for almost all lower and some middle class Americans. Scientists have priced the hydrogen fuel cell cars and have come to the conclusion that the cost of the same is not a reality for the average American. The current gas prices are an everyday struggle for most Americans and, therefore, leave scientists to believe that fuel cell cars may not be considered. According to Jim Motavalli, “Hydrogen’s current price is three to four times that of gasoline,” (106). This is an outrageous comparison to the prices of gasoline. While the United States economy began to decline, the costs of gas steadily increased causing a downward spiral for car sales in this country. This was basically due to the fact that people were losing jobs and saving their money was the only thing they could do to survive. Not to mention, the country would most likely have to spend large sums of money to put hydrogen on the map. Motavalli states that hydrogen reformers could be put “in 10 to 20 percent of the nation’s 180,000 gas stations for $2 billion to $4 billion,” (105). The cost of hydrogen fuel cells would not only affect civilians but the country as well. The government would likely have to fork over billions to install stations for the hydrogen fuel cell cars in only a few places in the United States. This could form a massive debate amongst the people especially with the high debt the US government currently possesses due to purchasing oil from other countries. Researchers in the United States believe fuel cells can eliminate their dependency on other countries as well as national debt. According to Ricardo Bayon, a...
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