Hydrogen is an alternative fuel that can be produced from a variety of resources. Government—including the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technology Office—and industry are engaged in R&D to improve production and distribution and reduce emissions and costs for hydrogen use in fuel cell electric vehicles (DOE, 2019). For information about hydrogen production pathways, see the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Hydrogen Analysis Production Case Studies.
On this page, explore the fuel price and emissions intensity of hydrogen fuel at the retail level.
Emissions estimates use the Argonne National Laboratory's GREET model (Wang et al., 2022). The underlying source for a value in the table can be seen by placing your mouse cursor over that value. The data sources are also cited—with hyperlinked linked references—in the Key Assumptions section below.
Future hydrogen fuel prices include IRA 45V credits of up to $3/kg.
The data and estimates presented here are based on the following key assumptions:
- Fuel Price: The prices shown are associated with particular years; because we do not provide a time-series trajectory, we show fuel prices at a frozen level for all years so we can offer a range of fuel price snapshots. In the levelized cost of driving and emissions charts, this approach clearly distinguishes effects of fuels from those of vehicle technologies because fuels remain constant while vehicle technologies change over time.
- Hydrogen Fuel Price: The fuel price for hydrogen includes the production cost and the cost of infrastructure for hydrogen delivery and dispensing. We do not add a tax to hydrogen, because hydrogen is not currently taxed.
- Price Variability: Current market hydrogen prices are highly variable due to hydrogen's lower market maturity. Fuel costs, which are sometimes included in leases for fuel cell electric vehicles, are not paid by the user at the pump.
- Price Uncertainty: Future hydrogen prices are also highly uncertain. In the ATB, we represent both current and future hydrogen fueling costs as ranges, due to the large variability and uncertainty in the costs and utilization of alternative fuels and their supporting infrastructure. The ranges in fuel costs and resulting levelized cost of driving (LCOD) reflect a range of assumptions about production, delivery, dispensing costs, and access to tax credits.
- Price Sets: The ATB includes two sets of hydrogen prices: Current and Future prices, with Low and High cases for LCOD.
|Fuel Pathway, LCOD Case||Hydrogen Price ($/kg)||Source|
|Current (LDV), Low||13.0||Range of costs based on California Energy Commission estimates, 2021 (Baronas and Chen, 2021)|
|Current (LDV), High||16.0|
|Current (MHDV), Low||8.5||Range of costs based on hydrogen bus fueling costs at two California transit agencies, 2020–2021 (Collins and Post, 2022a) (Collins and Post, 2022b)|
|Current (MHDV), High||13.8|
Costs based on modeled high-volume hydrogen production from either steam methane reformation with CO2 capture and sequestration or water electrolysis from dedicated wind power, with access to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, clean hydrogen production tax credit (IRS 45V, a simplistic representation), delivery via pipeline or liquid delivery, and 700-bar dispensing at high utilization
The range reflects various assumptions about production, delivery, and dispensing, and their costs.
March 2023 DOE Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Clean Hydrogen report (DOE, 2023)
- Hydrogen Pathways: Emissions for all hydrogen pathways are from the GREET model (Wang et al., 2022). Hydrogen pathways are distinguished by their fuel pathway (energy source and hydrogen production method), assumed grid mix, and the method of delivery and dispensing.
- Leakage and Boil-Off: Leakage and boil-off losses in the fuel supply chain are included, as the hydrogen prices and emissions are in units per-kg H2 delivered. However, leakage and boil-off at the dispensing station and on the vehicles and tanks are not included in the fuel economy or LCOD of hydrogen.
The data downloads include additional details of assumptions and calculations for each metric.
For detailed definitions, see:
The following references are specific to this page; for all references in this ATB, see References.