Stoic, I wasn't trying to be comprehensive in listing alternative energy sources, I missed a lot more than hydro. And coal? Coal has been the backbone of our entire power production infrastructure for decades. I'm not sure what you're trying to say there. Did you think I was suggesting it as a fuel for cars? Erm, no. Coal creates electricity which *directly powers electric vehicles*. As opposed to: Coal creates electricity which is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen which is *then* used to fuel vehicles.
The electrolysis process is essentially less than 70% efficiency in most cases (i.e. 30% energy lost in the conversion process), and when considered in sum with the whole chain of systems needed to produce, distribute, and fuel vehicles with hydrogen, the efficiency is far less, not to mention that we don't even have efficient mass hydrogen distribution systems yet, whereas hey we've already got powerlines going everywhere. Did I mention that hydrogen is difficult to contain due to its volatility? I'm sorry but the "hydrogen economy" is a myth being sold by interested parties, just like the benefits of corn-based ethanol are promoted by the corn industry.
Your perspective on energy production is really confusing to me. You say you're ok with inefficient production as long as it creates jobs and uses renewable resources? Great. Problem is just because a second level energy source comes from abundant and renewable natural resources doesn't mean that the energy that powers its production does. Again most of the energy you will need to electrolyze water would come from coal-fired plants. So you're not removing that pollutant from the system, instead you're *increasing* your energy needs because of lost energy in the inefficient conversion process. Whereas if you just use the electricity produced by coal directly, well, you're losing less. Makes a lot more sense to me. *shrug*
As for jobs, renewable energy production system manufacture and installation is going to create jobs whether it's hydrogen or solar or wind or anything else. I'm not questioning investment in alternative energy, I'm questioning the focus on hydrogen as a useful option, and I do so from the perspective of someone who used to be a huge believer in it. But I've done a lot of research since then and as far as I can see it just doesn't make that much sense. It's not efficient, it's hard to transport and store, and the distributions systems don't yet exist.
I don't really understand your comment on oil extraction issues. Some oil is easier to extract and refine than others, that's a simple fact, and as difficulty goes up, generally environmental impact does also. Restrictions are in place to *avoid* excessive environmental damage in trying to utilize less efficiently extracted oil resources like oil sands. This is the whole consideration of *total cost* of an activity, not just immediate cost (men, materials), but environmental impact is a "cost", long-term human health impact is a "cost", etc.
For the record, the Prius vs. BMW was an *M3* with *4 cylinders* and 177HP (0-60 time about 8 seconds vs. the Prius at 11). It's also a *diesel*, far more efficient than most gas engines. I'm personally more in favor of wider diesel adoption than hybrid technology as they have similar efficiencies and hybrids have the added issue of battery lifetime, replacement, and disposal. Unfortunately for some reason the US is really against even modern, low emission diesels, even though they're far more efficient than most gas engines, while maintaining healthy amounts of power, acceleration, etc. Beats me why that is...