A lot of times it takes a big push to get us, as a society, to move in a new direction. Take, for instance, the new interest in alternative fuels such as biodiesel, ethanol or fuel cells and hybrid vehicles that combine the efficiency of electric and the power of gasoline. Not that many of us cared about the miles per gallon of our H3 until gas hit $4 a gallon. And, sure we all want to take care of the planet, but how about taking care of the savings account too?
Cue the waiting list for SmartCars and Priuses, as well as a new generation of cars that could get as much as 235 mpg! The VW 1L is one of many concept cars striving for ultimate efficiency, as long as you're OK with the trade-offs. Super efficient cars are wonderful but many of the concept cars being introduced give up seating and storage space to achieve their additional efficiencies.
When it comes to producing hybrid vehicles that can still satisfy everyday needs, Toyota is at the forefront with their ultra-popular Prius. While the sticker prices of hybrids have increased lately, the benefits of ownership seem to be adding up faster. In many cases, insurance costs for hybrid vehicles are actually lower and repair costs for these vehicles are not astronomically high like some feared ("The Real Costs of Owning a Hybrid").
Today's hybrid vehicles will give you a few extra miles per gallon, but with the newfound demand for these vehicles I'm excited to see where the technology goes from here. Call me greedy but I'm holding out for the hybrid that can give me 50 plus mpg but still have the same horsepower and torque as my not-so-fuel efficient V6 with DOHC. And, the way the market is going, I don't think I'll have to wait that long.