Hasta la Vista, Gas-Guzzler? The words "Schwarzenegger" and "green" don't really seem a natural mix. After all, this is the first civilian to drive a Hummer (convinced GM to build a consumer version). But when campaigning for office, Governor Arnie committed to converting a Hummer to run on hydrogen in an attempt to "let [Detroit] know that this is what we can do." Instead, GM built a hydrogen Hummer and lent it to him for his recent announcement of plans to drastically increase the number of hydrogen refueling stations across California. Okay, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt that this is more than a political gesture, but "Green Hummer" is still a contradiction in terms. Tai Robinson's conversions on...... Greenhummer.org get points for effort (see pics below), but why must our vehicles be so big? Weighing in at 6,400 pounds, even a low-pollution version of the Hummer H2 is a hulk of a vehicle — way more of a hulk than is necessary to move a person typically weighing under 200 pounds. Whatever source of energy you use, it's wasted on hauling the heavy vehicle.
And despite popular opinion, there's evidence onGladwell.com that big vehicles may actually be less safe than lighter, more maneuverable ones that can better avoid crashes. Never mind that it takes a lot of energy to make a truck that size, and a lot of raw material that's difficult to recycle when the behemoth SUV fad finally ends. If Schwarzenegger wants to take credit for introducing Hummers to the masses, he can't also claim to be a green savior.
On the other hand, a $100 million initiative to build hydrogen refueling stations can't be a bad thing, and may encourage manufacturers to make lighter, more sensible hydrogen-powered cars. The hydrogen Hummer, though, needs to stop every 50 miles to refuel: not exactly a convenience that'll encourage consumers. And public use of the fueling stations is probably still 5 to 10 years off. So does this do more harm or more good? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think. ::The Detroit News [by Kevin Kosbab]
Arnie tanking up. (although he apparently drove back from the airport
in a normal gas-guzzler).