SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A shortage of fuel stations is leading to a speed-bump on the hydrogen highway. Drivers trying to help the environment are instead seeing their patience tried.
So what's leading to these long lines? And why are so many zero-emission car owners having zero luck filling up?
"It has been real inconvenient," said Eugene Maksymovich, a hydrogen-powered car owner.
More than a dozen cars were waiting to fill up at just one pump.
"It's been a little over three hours already," Maksymovich said.
"Four hours to get gas," said Dwane Peeples, another hydrogen-powered car owner.
There are only three gas stations in the Sacramento region that sell the clean burning fuel, but right now, two of them are broken.
"They just don't have enough stations," Peeples said.
"You show up at a station and there's no hydrogen and then you end up renting a car and it has happened a few times already," Maksymovich said.
Some who run out of gas were even forced to have their cars towed to the station.
"This lot was like a parking lot yesterday because people were towing their cars here having to leave them here, and when they get off work, they had to get in line to get gas," Peeples said.
So why are there so few hydrogen filling stations?
"We did have a period of about four years where no stations were funded, and so right now, we're working to kind of catch up on that lag time and to ensure that drivers really have the best kind of experience possible," said Keith Malone with California Fuel Cell Partnership.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles first appeared six years ago, and more than 12,000 are currently registered in California. They are a key part of the state's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and new clean air standards that go into effect in 2035.
"Beginning on that date, all future sales of cars in the state must be zero emission," Malone said.
But now, some drivers are regretting their clean car purchases, seeing red and realizing the grass isn't always greener.
"I wouldn't buy another at this point honestly," Maksymovich said. "It seems like we're just not ready for it yet."
It's not just a problem where we live. Right now, there are only 49 hydrogen pumps in all of California. Officials do say they plan on more than doubling that number in the future-
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