The Big Bad Auto Companies

I watched the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? on cable over the weekend. I hadn't seen the film since 2006 when it was first released in theaters. It's fascinating to listen to rhetoric from only a few years ago about how difficult people perceived it was to fight with the big auto companies because they were so rich and so powerful and the status quo was so profitable for them.

(from Flickr user kqedquest)

Obviously, this seems silly now, in light of the failure of big auto companies. I also think the hype has shifted quite a bit. Most topically educated people now seem to be in agreement that alternative fuels are generally worse than fossil fuels and that hydrogen fuel cells are a pipe dream.

So we had an energy crisis in 2008, and it got everyone all jazzed up about cars that would run on something, anything, other than gasoline. And really the best technological improvements that came out of that crisis were hybrids that run with slightly less inefficient engines. That's a big disappointment. That's a huge disappointment, when you think about it. By the time the next energy crisis comes, hopefully the discussion will change course entirely, from how to fuel cars, to how to live our lives in a world with escalating energy costs.

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