According to Philip King in The Australian, the big oil companies are the weakest link in the budding hydrogen transportation system. King quotes DaimlerChrysler vice-president Herbert Kohler as saying that the governments should require the oil companies to build the infrastructure to support hydrogen autos if they are also going to require automakers to build hydrogen autos in the first place.
Mr. Kohler has a point. There are some regions of the world where automakers are required to meet certain air quality standards and by building hydrogen autos, this requirement is being met. Yet, there are no requirement for the companies that make and distribute fuel to supply the hydrogen for these autos.
The trouble is that the regulators have disassociated automobiles from the fuel that drives them. Cars are seen as the primary polluters in the transportation industry, not the oil companies. Perhaps requiring the oil companies to manufacture and distribute a certain amount of less polluting biofuels and non-polluting hydrogen fuel in a given region will aid the growth of the near-term and long-terms solutions to cleaning up the transportation sector.