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for the ethanol piece, it's not our best option right now
it is an alternative, but the Energy In vs. Energy Out perspective (to produce ethanol for a petroleum substitute) is almost worse, if not just as bad. it costs way to much in terms of money, but mostly energy, to convert it to where we could use it for fuel. we simply need better methods of conversion and production
as for electric, hopefully that may work out within a few years or a decade or so....let's hope someone figures it out. until then, not much we can do
and yeah, higher gas prices wouldn't do much good economically, maybe cause the few stragglers who still don't notice the problem to sort of wake up and hopefully fund/find/exhaust ways to find energy-efficient fuel alternatives