Chalk me up as unimpressed that the Bush Administration came up with a pathetic whopping $30 million in funding for plug-in hybrids with a goal of having them be a part of the American car market within the next 8 years.
I sincerely hope that the Obama administration is willing to put some serious funding into ways to reduce the amount of fuel burned by internal-combustion engines. Plug-in hybrids are hardly a panacea: that electricity has to come from somewhere, and right now, “somewhere” probably means coal. But the fact is, it’s at least feasible to think about ways of improving the efficiency of electricity generation; from more mundane ideas like natural gas turbines and local solar microgeneration to more exotic things like breeder nuclear reactors, massive solar farms, and carbon sequestration. However you slice it, it’s easier to imagine making big changes to a few thousand power plants than a few hundred million cars.
But, plug-ins are the first thing that will make a serious dent in the amount of gasoline that we burn that can be brought onto the market in the next half-decade or so. As said, that doesn’t necessarily prima facie mean that we’re reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we put in the atmosphere, but I do believe it puts us in a better position to make improvements.