To the Editor:
Jeff Hoffman wrote a misleading and inaccurate letter to the editor (Forum, Nov. 4). Mr. Hoffman thinks that AC Transit should convert to hydrogen power immediately to reduce the use of oil and thereby pollution. While I wholeheartedly agree that we need to reduce our use of oil, Mr. Hoffman evidently doesn't understand that making hydrogen requires energy which is made using oil (hydroelectric power is all spoken for by our houses – additional energy is made from burning oil). Making hydrogen uses lots of energy – more than the hydrogen gives back. In fact, making hydrogen uses 50 percent more oil than the equivalent power obtained from putting the oil directly into a car. And hydrogen is not green. Just because a hydrogen powered bus isn't spewing pollution, doesn’t mean it is non-polluting. It just relocates the pollution to where the power is made, someone else’s neighborhood, and 50 percent more pollution to boot.
We should support hydrogen power for the right reasons – as part of research into alternative energy systems. Just understand that every hydrogen powered vehicle right now is burning more oil and creating more pollution than if that vehicle were conventionally powered. They say that instead of learning how to make hydrogen powered vehicles, we should be learning how to make hydrogen cost effectively.