At the dawn of the automotive age, the free market dictated which of the three forms of propulsion would become the accepted norm.
The steam car (Doble) was fast and simple with few moving parts, but one had to wait for the boiler to heat up and generate steam before one could take off. The electric (Baker Motor Vehicle) was very slow with limited range, 110 miles at 25 mph. Internal-combustion-powered cars (Oldsmobile) were the least expensive, reasonably fast and with unlimited range as long as gasoline was added, so here we are 120 years later, and nothing has basically changed.
The green crowd is praising the Tesla S, admittedly a sharp-looking car, but at $76,200 it only has a range of 240 miles before needing to be recharged, and where are the dead batteries disposed? If the government would step aside, the free market will dictate better fuel mileage without mandated regulations. Back in 1959, 47 cars averaged 19.44 miles per gallon in the Mobile Economy Run, compared to an industry average today of over 34 miles per gallon for nonhybrid compacts.
It is obvious that we will be depending on petroleum products throughout our lifetimes.
Ralph Bush, Arroyo Grande