From my vantage point, not all that much which I find slightly disturbing but mostly just disappointing.
- We're still talking about ethanol from corn. Why are we still talking about this? Ethanol, as it stands, is going nowhere. Ethanol as a fuel is perfectly fine but ethanol as a transportation model is atrocious. Corn, beets, sugar cane... whatever is grown is going to take tons of water, land and energy which just puts us right back where we started. No sir, I don't like it.
- Hydrogen is exactly what it was before: a perfect solution and just out of reach. To be sure, the problems are being addressed... slowly. The only way this fuel will work is if two very important things happen (which I tend to believe they will): we need to find a renewable, biological-based source for this gas and we need to either figure out a solid-state storage medium. Both of these are feasable, mark my words.
- EVs are still nowhere. Why don't we at least have EVs? Please? The detractors say it is problem swapping but that is oversimplification leading to a false claim. Burning gasoline, diesel or otherwise, will always be dirty. It can get cleaner and cleaner and cleaner and it will still be dirty. Electricity, on the other hand, is dirty but does not have to be dirty. We will always need electricity, right? And we're going to need to get it cleaner than we do now, right? Let's kill two birds with one stone, solve the electicity issue and, at the same time, solve the transportation issue.
- Diesels, somehow, are getting more attractive. VW is releasing a car in the near future getting something like 60 or 70 MPG with really low emissions from diesel. Mercedes has its Bluetec system. Smart has a 60mpg car out in Europe. Who knew good old Grandma Betsy's diesel Rabbit, good bless her soul (and the Rabbit's), with the glow plugs would be a window to the future.
- One one hand, SUVs are still selling like hotcakes. I understand the draw I guess but I don't know why you would intentionally pay more to do the same thing. Driving to work and back when I'm working full-time costs about $90-100 a month for me. Why would I want that to cost $150-200?? I just don't know how you can justify a sub 20 MPG beast as daily commuter car.
- On the other hand...Smart cars are coming! I want one of these damn things so bad. About $15K well-appointed I think. I'm going to drive one and if I love it, it's mine.
Social and political change happens slow, I understand. Just be patient, I know. But can't we all just agree that we need to do something really different and then just go ahead and do it?
I'm afraid I already know the answer to that.