While I am not a big proponent for regulation, I do believe the economy has hidden costs that need to be accounted for by laws and protections. This story in the NYTimes (free registration required) about the EPA holding back a report that suggests that cars today are on average less fuel efficient than in the '80s is tragic and shocking. For all the lip-service we give to environmental issues, the only way the marketplace will adopt clean technologies is if we account for the hidden costs of pollution. That we are failing to do is evident by the fact that for all the succeses of hybrids like the Prius, our roads are being swamped by more and more SUVs and gas guzzlers.
On the topic of hybrids, have you heard of the new Accord Hybrid. This baby has 255 horses on a V6 engine, and is faster than the other Accords on the road. The mileage is a lot lower than the Prius, but Honda seems to be trying to attract customers not traditionally motivated by environmental conditions into accepting cleaner technologies. A link in this posting gives a fascinating look into the thinking of Honda management on issues such as clean technology and fuel efficiency.