I can't believe it.
I am normally skeptical about conventional wisdom. Yet whenever I heard people speak about alternatives to the internal combustion engine, I thought they were wild-eyed and not in touch with the realities of modern civilized life.
I assumed that the modern automobile has refined the cleanliness and efficiency of the gasoline engine to approach the best possible product.
Did you happen to see the Charlie Rose show after Thanksgiving? When Mr. Lovins spoke about doubling the gasoline mileage of cars, I immediately thought, sure, we can mandate much higher gas mileage requirements, just as soon as everybody decides to give up their SUVs and drive mini-Coopers.
But he had a bowl of a composite plastic fiber something or other substance that was light as cardboard and yet rang out like a giant gong when struck. Mr. Lovins said it was several times stronger than steel (and much much lighter) and so car bodies made of this material would actually be safer and so much lighter that gasoline mileage would double, having to move about half the weight of the car.
I think the only way we can not solve our problems with dependence on foreign oil or excessive carbon dioxide is to keep to the same course of action out of ignorance or stubbornness. Or to allow a few large corporations who benefit from the status quo to keep us from investigating and implementing alternatives.
As Tom Friedman says, green is the new red, white and blue.