Do you think that the gas prices will drive the industry to develop less oil-dependant technology, namely to put the hybrid engines in more vehicles? If not, do you think there is a way to encourage this? (IE: government action, tax breaks, etc?)
I think that the eventual depletion of fossil fuels is going to give us the final push over to alternative fuel sources. The tax breaks are good, but I don't think they are sufficient enough to offset the cost of the hybrids maintenance down the road. The batteries are only guaranteed for 8 years, but the powertrain of a car is usually guaranteed for about 10. Then on top of that you need to take your hybrid vehicle to specialized mechanics to service them, and since they have more computer parts to work on, the electrical system is going to cost far more. I'll give it 10 years from now before I think we can say if these hybrids are actually cheaper.
What do you think about Bush's tax breaks for gas guzzlers?
I don't think its a tax break for gas guzzlers, but a tax break for small businesses. Ordinary consumers wouldn't get a tax break, only the small businesses that need these vehicles.
Do you think Congress will keep giving tax advantages to hybrid owners, or does the oil industry have their hands too deeply in the pockets of the politicians?
I'm not too sure on this one. I think if there is a large enough public outcry they will extend the benefits, especially if they can trace a reductions in pollution du to these vehicle. After living in Houston for so many years, I can tell you it's not the cars producing the majority of the smog in the US, but it's the industries. I think we would better off in focusing our attention to the pollutants they release into the air, and preferably hold them to the Kyoto agreements.