There’s a piece in the Sunday NY Times automotive section (we get it a day early) about a New York congressman, Eric Massa, who drove a Chevy Equinox fuel-cell vehicle from Corning, New York (his hometown) to DC as a demonstration of personal greenness, forward thinking and the potential of hydrogen-fueled vehicles. How is that possible; it’s 280 miles form Corning to DC and there are no hydrogen stations en route? Turns out greenmeister Massa actually drove two Equinoxes. One he drove from Corning to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he changed horses to the fully fueled second Equinox. How is that possible, since you’d think a fuel-cell Equinox would use a certain amount of hydrogen just getting to Harrisburg? Well, it turns out GM towed the Harrisburg Equinox– and also the Corning Equinox, which had to arrive there fully fueled– with a pair of hybrid Tahoes. So Massa actually used four cars and a fair amount of fuel, and produced a goodly amount of CO2, to get to Washington while “burning no fuel and producing zero emissions.”
This reminds me of the infamous RAF Vulcan bomber mission to the Falklands during Margaret’s War. A single huge Vulcan V-Bomber bombed the runway (and missed, by the way) at Port Stanley, which at least scared the beejesus out of the Argies. But it took 13 Vulcans and air-to-air tankers to get that single airplane there and back from Ascension Island. There were tankers that refueled the Vulcan, and there were tankers that refueled the tankers. And at least one backup Vulcan in case anything went wrong with the lead bomber, and it also had to be refueled even though it simply went home from the go/no-go point. The flight of 13 dwindled down to the single bomber and the couple of tankers it took to get it home again as airplane after airplane peeled off and went back to Ascension. Hard to imagine how many hundreds of thousands of gallons of jet fuel were burned per bomb, since the Vulcan could only carry something like four thousand-pounders or whatever they were.