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Bush's $1.7 billion hydrogen program?

Posted to Poetry and Politics

In February of 2003, Bush requested $1.2 billion over five years for hydrogen fuel-cell research (ref 1 & 2). However, only $720 million of this reflects spending beyond what had already been planned (ref 3) -- a proposed increase of only $144 million per year.

During 2003, the United States produced about 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day (ref 4). At a current price of about $39.50 per barrel (ref 5), one day's worth of U.S. crude translates to just over $225 million.

So put in perspective, Bush proposed $144 million a year for additional fuel cell research, when our country is producing over $225 million of crude oil every day. In fact, the entire 5-year budget of $1.2 billion for hydrogen cell research represents only about 5 days of U.S. crude oil production. And we consume about two and a half times the oil we produce (ref 6).

Yet, Bush calls this plan "a legacy for future generations and key to the nation's energy security" (ref 7).

More perspective? During fiscal year 2003, we paid an average of $871 million a day in interest on the national debt (ref 8). And so far this calendar year, the debt has increased by about $266 billion (ref 9).

1) CNN - Transcript of 2003 State of the Union (pt. 4)
2) - Bush promotes hydrogen fuel cells
3) - Bush's fuel hydrogen fuel cell plan
4) Energy Information Association - United States
5) WTRG Economics - Crude Oil Price
6) CIA World Factbook
7) CNN - Bush hydrogen initiative fuels debate
9) U.S. Treasury - Public Debt