Sustainability Sundays contributor Mike Millikin, editor of the fantastic Green Car Congress website, is the subject of an interview in the current Mother Jones. The discussion is a good one, and the interview could serve as a primer on the current and near-future trends in building more efficient vehicles. (And if you shy away from Mother Jones for political reasons, you don't need to for this piece -- it's almost entirely focused on vehicle technology and its social context.)
Millikin: ...one of the things I try to do is emphasize new engine concepts. It's very difficult to develop an engine, and it's hard for inventors and innovators to come up with something that can really make any headway. And so in at least one case – and I'll be doing this with other cases – I've thrown up a new concept on the site, and the inventor and the readers interacted and discussed it in great depth.
I've got the educated or leading-edge consumers, researchers from universities, engineers and developers from the auto companies checking in regularly. It's a good cross section. And I've been very pleased with the types of discussions and interactions that have developed. All I'm really trying to do is to get people learning and thinking and then taking what they've learned and doing more.
You know what I find interesting? In all the talk on this site about how to solve the car transportation issue, I don't recall ever seeing suggestions for promoting more car-pooling. The closest I've seen is car-sharing.
You could take ANY motor vehicle and at least double the mileage (or at least reduce the cost of that mileage in 1/2) by getting at least one person to ride with you. Why does this alternative not get any press? Has it proven to be useless in those places which have experimented with car-pool lanes? Is everyone who can do it already doing it? Obviously the American car tradition is the freedom to drive where they want when they want, so there's obviously an entrenched mind-set. But that's never been a reason for Worldchanging to shy away from a subject before.