What's needed is a flex-fuel hybrid with a larger bank of batteries, a solar array and plug-in adapter, built around an ultralightweight but nonetheless very strong and very safe carbon-fibre frame and body.

This car, which might be built NOW, would be about half the weight, would allow commuters to run to and from work and around town all week on electrical power alone and would also allow them to choose and adapt between gasoline and ethanol in accordance with their respective availablility and price.

While at home, the cars could be charged on household electrical sources and while parked in open parking lots away from home they'd often re-charge via their solar arrays.

It's the ewxapnded-capacity battery bank and plug-in capability that will allow us to really wean ourselves of foreign oil, since most oil is used in daily commutes ...

But I've little faith in anyone's ability or drive to behave proactively. Along with Thomas Friedman, I'm betting it'll be a protracted and deep crsis in the Middle-East between the US and Iran that will so seriously elevate oil prices that we'll finally pull-out all the stops and do the sorts of things we should have been doing over these past 20 years.

We won't be spurred to do the right thing, apparently, until forced-to out of sheer economic necessity.

I drive an '88 Ford Escort EXP today. It gets almost 40mpg on the highway, has no computer, a free-wheeling motor and I can carry my life in the back of it. What I love most, these days, is that it's often mistaken for a Ford Mustang ...

I'll buy a new car when the one I've described (above) is built, and not before.