While the committee’s budget roadmap considered only the funding required to launch the maximum practicable scenario for fuel cell vehicles, it is unlikely that federal funding would terminate after the breakeven year for transition, as assumed here. Rather, continued expenditures at some level would be expected, although the committee did not attempt to estimate such requirements.
Note, too, that the budget roadmaps presented here do not reflect the savings to consumers from reduced expenditures for gasoline during 2012-2023 (estimated at roughly $17 billion) or the loss of government tax revenues from gasoline sales displaced by hydrogen (roughly $5 billion). Also, the budget estimates do not include any costs for technical educational or training programs to support the transition, because the committee estimated no shortage of workers with the needed skills during this period (see Chapter 7). Other types of training programs (e.g., safety training) are likely to be needed.
There is considerable uncertainty in predicting the costs of deploying HFCVs, in particular technical success, oil prices, and carbon policy. To the extent that HFCVs exceed the technical and cost targets assumed in the maximum practicable analysis, the government’s share of costs could be reduced. Similarly, to the extent that HFCV imports from non-U.S. automakers contribute to the hydrogen transition, the magnitude of U.S. government-supported vehicle costs also would be reduced. But progress may be slower than assumed here, and pushing HFCVs into the market would then be more expensive than shown in Figure S.3. Before companies and the government start ramping up the funding for the transition in about 2015, it will be important to fully assess the state of the technology and expectations for the market. Insofar as progress is either faster or slower than expected, it will be important to adjust policies in response, while avoiding the perception that promotional policies are not durable.
Finally, the committee notes that the budget roadmaps developed in this study apply only to the transition period through 2023. However, the successful introduction of HFCVs also would involve substantial longer-term expenditures—primarily by the private sector—for infrastructure, energy resources, and other requirements of a full-scale HFCV-based transportation system. Estimates of longer-term