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Cost of gasoline bleeding you dry? Air pollution taking your breath away? Worried to death about auto-induced climate change and the future of your planet? You should be.

Our oil addiction is a drain on our wallets, a threat to our health and national security, and a major contributor to the global warming that threatens our planet. And with world-wide demand for oil increasing and supplies dwindling, it's a problem we can't drill or dig our way out of.

But there's a solution somewhere over the horizon. Hang on, folks. Hydrogen, the most abundant element on Earth, is on the way.

Honda's new hydrogen fuel cell car rolled off the assembly line in Japan this week, en route to Southern California. It runs on H2 and, instead of spewing CO2, CO, NOx, Pm2 and other pollutants, it will emit good old H2O - water vapor - out its exhaust pipe.

It's a limited production model; only 200 will be leased in the next three years. It's expensive to build; Honda won't say how much. And fuel will be hard to find; there are only three hydrogen fueling stations in California. But it's another step in the right direction, with a potential equal to that of electric cars.

While Honda built a better mousetrap, hydrogen-powered automobiles are nothing new. Many manufacturers have prototypes, and General Motors built its first working model in 1968.

But gas was cheap, oil was plentiful, the air was tolerable, demand was non-existent, climate change wasn't part of the vernacular. And the incentives - economic, governmental, environmental, ethical - were somewhere far into the future. Now the future has arrived.

Auto manufacturers are working feverishly to produce affordable, efficient fuel cells. Energy companies are working on ways to economically compress or liquefy hydrogen without using fossil fuels, and laying plans to put infrastructure - production plants, pipelines, fueling stations - in place. And research and development facilities, many utilizing government grants, are ramping up and achieving results.

We're not telling you to sell your electric-gasoline hybrid, surrender your bus pass or park your bicycle. A hydrogen-powered car won't appear in your driveway overnight.

The technology is still primitive; the costs are still prohibitive. But the incentives, the demand, and the desire on the part of consumers, manufacturers, energy companies and government entities are in place.