Thoughts on Energy
updated 03/09/2013
I'm hopeful that a decade from now America will have progressed on our energy situation in the following ways;

More efficient transportation
I have no problem always getting over 50 miles per gallon in my car the last 108000 miles, despite still seeing advertising by auto makers that their new vehicles are gas misers at a whopping 30 miles per gallon, and only on the highway at that.  My car is a Civic, not designed for ultra-high  miles per gallon but it does have an optional hybrid drivetrain, that has long since paid for itselfin gas savings.   

The public should not tolerate hearing that 30 or 35 miles per gallon is efficient, or that hybrids are too expensive or high on maintainence.  My hybrid maintainence has been zero.  My vehicle maintainence, including tire rotation  has been just oil, one set of tires, some transmission fluid change once or twice and one little starter battery. The hybrid stuff has had zero costs to me and and is warranted for 8 years anyway.   

Click here  to see my mileage records. Each of the 150 or so tanks of gas were recorded along with the gallons of gas used, price paid, and odometer reading at the time of fillup.  Average miles per gallon, including waiting for trains, trips with heavy loads, gridlock, sweltering air condtioner days, freezing morning drives to work, is 53 miles per gallon.   MPG was calculated the old fashioned way, with odometer readings and gas used at fillup, also occassional odometer calibration checks from highway markers every six months.  Odometer readings vary less than 1.5 percent actual milage with either of two sets of tires so almost no adjustment was needed to calibrate the odometer.

Better and cheaper biofuel
I expect to eventually see a lot of auto fuel someday coming from biologically derived products like butyl alcohol(not ethanol), produced by hybridized or bioengineered bacteria from cheap source stuff like sawdust and organic waste and cultured algea.  I expect the butyl alcohol or other light to medium weight biologically produced  liquid fuel to go into auto gas tanks.  This will be superior to diesel since the light to medium weight liquid will not use the high 22 to 1 compression ratio of diesel and hence not be prone to forming nitrous oxides from the air intake, which is the problem with all newly designed "clean" deisel engines as well as all older ones. (Air plus diesel compression ratios equals nitrous oxide and it has nothing to do with the fuel itself)

As a petroleum geologist I believe there is still a pretty good amount of undiscovered natural gas around the US, in both the Gulf of Mexico, on the onshore Gulf Coast, and in source rock throughout the country.  This is good because natural gas is a lot cheaper on a BTU basis than oil and its carbon footprint is lower than oil or coal. Natural gas has about a 4 to 1 ratio of hydrogen to carbon while oil has around a 2 to 1 ratio of hydrogen to carbon ratio. Coal has a dismal ratio, being almost pure carbon.   Because natural gas has practically no mercury as some coal does, and because it has a very low carbon ratio, it makes an excelent fuel for electricity generation with less impact on global warming than those other fossil fuels.  The last few years we have found so much natural gas that it is really cheap.

Global warming is so far advanced already that two facts encapsulate the situation pretty well.
First, there was only 20 miles of the several thousand miles of the northwest passage still blocked by ice the last two years and sailboat owners are watching for their chance to be the first to complete the voyage, maybe this coming summer. 

Secondly, my petroeum profession periodical for October 2010 (AAPG Explorer) was advertising for technical papers on the second "Polar Petroleum Potential Conference" to be held in Nova Scotia.  There was also an advertisement for the "Inaugural Artic Technology Conference.  The north pole is melting.  Developnment of the north pole watere is about to commence.

I expect our nation will be able to increase its electricity generation from wind turbines a lot more than many believe.  The issues seem to be mostly with site selection that minimizes harm or conflict to birds, animals, and scenic aspects; as well as transmission hurdles.  Having read extensively on turbine-caused Golden Eagle fatalities, it seems the turbine manufacturers have altered the blades placement and rotation speed to be relatively harmless, to not just eagles, but most other birds as well. 

I expect solar energy to expand a thousandfold  in about a decade due to recent breakthroughs in the solar cell and semiconductor technology that not only improves the efficiency of generation, but drastically lowers the cost of the hardware.  The discoveries and improvements have already been made and should only take a little time to scale up to large scale manufacturing

But we have a ways to go.  A high mileage auto is a very good start for this interem period.  Consider this:
By switching from driving my SUV to and from work; I have cut my carbon footprint in half, paid less than half what I used to pay to foriegn countries for oil, and I have more than paid off the fancy drivetrain from the first four years of driving it.  The remaining auto's life will be saving me 760 dollars a year if gasoline stays around $3.50 a gallon, more if the price creeps up.

I am very optimistic America will have a greatly improved and more stable energy supply in about a decade.
I expect much more efficient vehicles at reasonable cost in a few years, and not at luxury car costs.
I expect domestic natural gas, now cheap and fairly clean, will be able to play an increased role in keeping electricity both affordable and keeping the carbon footprint from increasing in the near future.
I expect more diversified and affordable fuel sources for vehicles in a decade that are less dependent on the middle east and likely sustainable.
I expect, through greatly increased solar and wind produced electricity, and source rock natural gas, that the cost of electricity will not become unreasonable in the future

I expect  your next regular priced vehicle choice to be one that cuts your fuel costs in half as mine has.  Make it so and not only will you save, but our country will be more independent and our planet more pleasant.  Our kids would like that.