Where the heck are our hydrogen-powered cars?

Getty Images
Getty Images

In the new issue of mental_floss magazine, Ethan Trex answers The Biggest Questions of 2009. All this week, he'll be answering additional questions of various sizes here on the blog.

As climate-saving plans go, few sound quite as appealing as cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. They don't need any petroleum! They're low on emissions! They're"¦not in our garages. Why not?

Although most of us might not have seen one, there are hydrogen-powered cars out there. There just aren't very many of them. Honda began production of its FCX Clarity in 2008. The little car runs on hydrogen fuel cells and can travel up to 270 miles on a full tank of hydrogen. The car can get from 0 to 60 in 9.2 seconds—about the same as Honda's Accord. Sounds perfect, but there are a few hitches.

First, the hand-assembled car is tricky to put together; Honda can only crank out 200 of them in the first three years of production, and mass-production probably can't start until 2018. On top of that, fuel-cell cars are mind-numbingly expensive, and not just by the standards of Honda's Accord-buying public. According to Honda, just building a single 134-horsepower FCX Clarity costs several hundred thousand dollars, which is part of why the company only leases the cars instead of selling them.

Finally, there's the problem of our lack of hydrogen fueling infrastructure. (When was the last time you saw a hydrogen station as you cruised down the highway?) Until there's a nationwide effort to build an infrastructure for producing, distributing, and retailing hydrogen, the cars might be little more than a pleasant daydream. When Honda announced its plans to start leasing the Clarity in 2008, only Southern California residents were eligible to drive one home, and even they had to live near one of three existing hydrogen fueling stations in the area.

Although GM, BMW, and Hyundai hope to have hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles of their own in showrooms within the next five years, some experts estimate that it will take decades before the American fleet can convert to hydrogen. If hydrogen cars can't really take off in significant numbers until 2050, it might be too late for the technology to make a meaningful impact on how we drive.

Bonus Question: Why are there different types of gas (premium, regular, and super) but it seems like there is only one gas tanker?

You can't judge a tanker truck by its shiny metallic covering. Although from the outside these trucks look like one gigantic tank, they're actually divided into a series of compartments. Each compartment contains a certain grade of gas so one truck can stock a station for all three grades of fuel.

You can pick up mental_floss wherever brilliant/lots of magazines are sold. Or you could just subscribe.

* * * * *

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

Hold High-Quality Zoom Meetings and Video Streams With the Logitech C922x Webcam


This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

The year of social distancing has brought everything from college courses to Thanksgiving dinner to a webcam stream, but not all cameras are created equal—most of the time, there’s one lagging video participant who is always blurry and frozen. You can avoid being that person with this Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam, which is 30 percent off today.

This webcam is designed for content streaming and broadcasting, so it's built with a full HD lens that records at 30 frames per second to eliminate lagging frames during fast movement or games. It also has an autofocus feature to optimize lighting and two integrated microphones with noise reduction. All of these features are in one compact device that can automatically improve your picture and audio without you doing a thing.

The Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam is also perfect for gaming streams on sites like Twitch and YouTube—so much so that it even comes with a free six-month Xsplit license, which will help you control the various aspects of your broadcast like sound levels, text overlays, music, graphics, and lighting. You’ll be able to record, edit, and broadcast your stream with professional quality.

Whether you need a better quality picture for weekly check-ins with your boss or a higher frame rate for capturing gaming, the Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam can help with tons of features, a free six-month Xsplit license, and a 30 percent discount today, bringing the final price down to $140.

Prices subject to change.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!