Washington, D.C. – U.S. President Barack Obama has cut funding to develop hydrogen fuel cell cars, according to Automotive News.

Obama eliminated a US$1.2 billion plan put in place by former president George W. Bush. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the government preferred to target funds toward more immediate energy-saving solutions.

A spokesman for the Energy Department said that the probability of viable hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles within the next 10 to 20 years is low, that the cost of developing an infrastructure of refuelling is enormous, and that there are technical obstacles to producing hydrogen and storing it in vehicles.

The government’s fiscal 2010 budget proposal calls for $68.2 million in spending on fuel cell technologies, down from $169.0 million in 2009. The government will continue to pay for research into stationary fuel cells that could be used for non-automotive purposes.

The new budget includes cuts to several programs that don’t work well or are no longer needed, the Department said in a statement, including $200 million in oil and gas company research “that the companies can and do fund on their own.”

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