I've given some thought to the original X-Prize recently. While it led to some amazing innovations in the funding of spaceflight, increases in cost efficiency and improving the environmental impact of space flight, it didn't touch the average person. While space flight is nice, and, I believe, vital to the continuation of the human species, it lacks an immediacy, an impact on their daily lives. However, given its successes, it can be viewed as a proof-of-concept for the much more immediately important Automotive X-Prize. The final draft has yet to be released. However, over 30 teams have already signed letters of intent to compete. The goal of this is to produce a commercially-viable automobile capable of a fuel economy of 100 mpg or equivalent. It is my belief and my hope that this venture will be able to do through the power of human ingenuity and the competitive spirit that drives very nearly all meaningful change what government regulations have thus far failed to do, and do them in a much faster manner than the, ahem, hallowed halls of government bureaucracy are capable of achieving.
When people purchase a car, they typically ask themselves if it looks good, if they can afford it, and if it can do what they need it to do, not necessarily in that order. I think if a car is capable of answering all three of those questions satisfactorily and achieve a fuel economy exceeding 100 mpg, the age of the gas guzzler will well and truly be over, and the environment will be improved as a result.