Very interresting alternatives are available to gas cars.
Such as this:
Solar Electric Hybrid Prototype on Display in Queensland
19 April 2005
The University of Queensland's Sustainable Energy Research Lab (SERL) is displaying its two-seater solar electric hybrid prototype--the UltraCommuter--as part of the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland's centenary events.
Spawned by SERL's work on the SunShark solar vehicle in 2000, the UltraCommuter is an ultra-light weight, low drag, hybrid-electric commuter vehicle that combines photovoltaic recharging and grid recharging with a CNG-fueled range-extending generator.
Two-and-a-half square metres of solar panels provide 375 Watts of electric power, meeting 87% of the car's total power needs and cutting greenhouse emissions by 97 percent compared to a conventional sedan (Australia's Holden Commodore).
We need to start lobbying for mass production of these kinds of alternatives. Lets look at more possibilities...
Since the US is such a large mass with rural populations making up most of the mass, a massive public transportation system could be implimented to supply some alternatives. However, the cost of such a system would probably cost more than our country could spend. So, I am going to concentrate on a smaller, simpler solution for now.
A simple solar additive to a Prius is a no-brainer for starters:
Solar-Power-Augmented Prius Takes the Grid Out of "Plug-in"
15 August 2005
Lapp's PV Prius
A Canadian engineer has prototyped a Photovoltaic Prius--a 2001 Prius augmented with roof-top solar panels and an additional battery system to supplement the charge in the original equipment NiMH batteries.
Steve Lapp's PV Prius is still a rough prototype--a demonstration of concept--but even with the limitations of the systems, he has achieved an initial 10% fuel efficiency improvement from 4.5 l/100km (52 mpg US) to 4.0 l/100km (59 mpg US).
Who knows what better improvements could be made with a system made by Toyota and a full body of solar panels? The only reason no one uses them is because no one uses them. They are too expensive because they aren't being mass produced, because people think they are too expensive. This is where support from the government could really see a large improvement in solar production.
What about having the OPTION to plug in your car at night? For example, give your Prius the ability to charge it's battery at night. The idea could let many people get to work and back up to 15 miles away and never switch over to gas. This blog suggests the idea:
Toyota's promotional material for the Prius assures buyers they won't have to plug in their cars. But why shouldn't we have the option to plug in our cars if we want to? Electricity is much cheaper than gasoline and if it's generated from clean renewable sources like wind power produces zero emissions. Companies like Ford who recently scrapped production of an all electric model would prefer to promote a distant hydrogen future than manufacture electric cars today.
"What is the latest on the "strong" hybrids that can be switched to run on electricity or fuel? I hear these class of hybrids would be able to run around town at speeds of say 35 to 40 mph on electricity and not go to fuel unless it had to run at higher speeds for a long distance trip." -
Imagine plugging your car in at home or work or at a free street recharging point. Sound unrealistic? Well we already have an extensive electricity infrastructure whereas no hydrogen infrastructure at all currently exists. By having "strong" hybrids we can plug into a clean renewable electricity supply helping wean ourselves off our oil addiction.
I suggest if you want more information, do a google search. Lots of Universities are doing research as well.