Industry investments between $52 billion to $234 billion over several decades may seem like a lot of money, but these sums are not exceptional compared to past energy industry expenditures.
For example, we estimate that the oil industry has invested over $100 billion each year for the three years 2000 to 2003 just in the US to support the existing US gasoline and diesel fuel infrastructure. The annual industry incentives required for hydrogen infrastructure and for public fueling outlets are minor compared to past fueling industry capital expenditures to maintain the gasoline and diesel fuel infrastructure:
[Source for oil industry expenditures estimate: Marilyn Radler, Oil & Gas Journal]
Similarly, the government incentives for hydrogen and public charging outlets are less than past government support to achieve major societal objectives such as the Federal highway system beginning in 1956 and putting a man on the moon in the 1960’s and much less than the projected government subsidies for ethanol: for example, if the Congressional goal of producing 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022 is achieved, and if ethanol is subsidized at 45 cents/gallon (Down from past subsidies of 51 cents/gallon, then the total ethanol subsidies will increase to $16.2 billion per year in 2022; As shown below, these ethanol subsidies are much greater than the maximum government hydrogen infrastructure investment of $1.36 billion in 2044:
Similarly, the $16 billion/year ethanol subsidy would be huge compared to the maximum annual government incentive for public charging stations of $2.88 billion in 2045:
Finally, the total government incentives required for public charging outlets ($41 billion) and for a distributed hydrogen infrastructure ($29.3 billion) are both small compared to past government programs such as President Eisenhower’s 1956 national highway system ($197 billion in today’s dollars) or President Kennedy’s project to put a man on the moon ($151 billion in today’s dollars), the 2009 Stimulus package or particularly the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars ($3.7 trillion):
(Iraq and Afghanistan war estimate by the Congressional Budget Office)