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Washington, D.C. - The Council on Environmental Quality today accepted the keys to a GM hydrogen fuel cell powered Chevrolet Equinox. This learning vehicle is on a three month loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and it will be test driven by staff at CEQ for official business to help better understand some of the challenges of this developing technology.

"The Federal government is answering the President's call to research, develop, and rapidly bring to consumers alternative fuel cars, including zero-emission cars powered by hydrogen that will help reduce our addition to oil." said Chairman James L. Connaughton. "We are thrilled to have the chance to test drive the Equinox for three months, share our opinions on the car, and contribute to putting even more cars like this on the road."

On-the-road testing is now in full swing nationwide to improve the reliability and drivability of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. GM, Daimler, Ford, and Hyundai-Kia have partnered with energy companies and DOE in the National Hydrogen Learning Demonstration to validate the vehicles and infrastructure in real-world operating conditions. Honda is leasing its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Clarity, to hundreds of users in Southern California. Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen are also developing and demonstrating hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around the country. Furthermore, all of these auto manufacturers, as well as BMW, participated in last month's Hydrogen Road Tour presented by DOE and the Department of Transportation, a two-week cross-country vehicle tour to demonstrate the progress made in bringing hydrogen vehicle technology closer to commercial availability.

President Bush is moving the U.S. toward a future of cleaner, more abundant domestic supplies of energy. Since 2001, the Federal Government has provided nearly $18 billion in funding to research, develop and promote alternative energy technologies that help to improve our energy security. The President's 2009 budget seeks more than $3.5 billion for alternative energy technologies.

In 2003, President Bush announced a $1.2 billion hydrogen fuel initiative to help reduce America's dependence on oil by developing the technology for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells and hydrogen infrastructure needed to power cars, trucks, homes, and businesses. The hydrogen fuel initiative complements the President's FreedomCAR initiative, which is developing technologies needed for mass production of safe and affordable hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. Through partnerships with the private sector, the hydrogen fuel initiative and FreedomCAR will make it practical and cost-effective for large numbers of Americans to choose to use clean, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020.

The President also signed Executive Order 13423 directing the Federal government to lead by example in advancing the nation's energy security and environmental performance needs. Among other things, the Order calls for an increase use of alternative fuels, including using more alternative fuel vehicles, such as the one delivered to CEQ today.

For more information on the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative visit: /news/releases/2003/02/20030206-2.html

For more information on Executive Order 13423 visit: