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Industries seek funding for fuel-cell cars

November 23, 2010
Nearly a year after President Bush touted fuel-cell cars as a top environmental priority, the auto and oil industries are starting to shop around Washington for taxpayer help in bankrolling the billions of dollars they say will be necessary to get the futuristic vehicles out of the lab and onto the road. In a meeting last week with Senate members and staff, a General Motors official estimated it would cost up to $15 billion to build enough hydrogen fueling stations to start making fuel-cell vehicles a viable option for consumers. A Royal Dutch/Shell Group official put the figure at around $19 billion. The discussion of how much money it would take to start making the fuelcell vision a reality came on the eve of the Bush administration's hosting of a conference where government officials from around the world discussed how to coordinate their hydrogen efforts. GM's and Shell's estimates overwhelm the $2 billion Bush proposed spending on the project over five years.