Planet Gore

Green Photo-Op of the Day

Rep. Eric Massa from Upstate New York showed up in D.C. the other day in a hydrogen powered Chevy Equinox. <a href=”http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/at-least-he-didnt-take-a-private-jet/-893″>The trip, however, wasn’t so green:

But was the trip as green as the photo suggests?

Not really. The range of the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle is about 200 miles, according to G.M., and the distance from Corning to Washington is roughly 280 miles, which means Mr. Massa would have had to refill the tank with hydrogen somewhere along the way — but there are no hydrogen stations on the most direct route from Corning to Washington.

The solution: two Equinoxes.

Carolyn Markey, a G.M. spokeswoman, said Mr. Massa drove one Equinox from Corning to Harrisburg, Pa., where a second Equinox was waiting for him. He then drove it to Washington, where the above photo was snapped.

In order to deliver and retrieve the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles, Ms. Markey said, two Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid S.U.V.’s were used as tow vehicles: one to tow the first Equinox back up to Honeoye Falls, and another to tow the second Equinox, which originated in Washington, up to Harrisburg for the trip back down. So essentially, the entire 280-mile trip was also made by a Tahoe Hybrid, which gets about 20 miles a gallon on the highway. Towing another S.U.V. lowers that gas mileage.

So the trip wasn’t exactly emissions-free or gas-free. But that was all part of the plan, according to both Ms. Markey and Mr. Massa, who say that the trip was also supposed to emphasize the need for more hydrogen infrastructure.

So, uh, where are the other three SUVs?

To solve the infrastructure problem, however, I wonder: Why not transport large quantities of hydrogen in dirigibles, like they did in the good old days? Oh, the humanity of a hydrogen-powered economy.

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