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San Francisco-based ChevronTexaco Corp., operator of more than 5,000 convenience stores, and General Motors Corp. will work together to develop a fuel cell vehicle that runs on gasoline.
All the world's leading automakers are racing to produce fuel cell vehicles, powered by electricity produced through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the air and hydrogen stored in the car as fuel. Hydrogen-fueled vehicles spew only water vapor instead of toxic gas emissions.
Hydrogen fuel cells likely won't become widespread until 2010 because of the need for hydrogen fueling stations to replace today's gas stations. Meanwhile, GM plans to produce gasoline fuel cells, which can also dramatically reduce emissions and increase fuel economy.
In a gasoline fuel cell, the gas is converted to hydrogen using a series of reactors. "Car technology is changing, and we need to work to modify our fuels for use in fuel cell vehicles," Gary Masada, a spokesman for ChevronTexaco said in a statement yesterday.
GM is also working on fuel cells with Exxon Mobil Corp. and Shell Oil Co.