More on the energy situation
The market is already penalizing (and will do so even more as prices rise) the low mileage vehicles. A realtor friend of mine has a huge SUV and spent almost $6k for gasoline last year. He looked at trading the thing in (cost $40k and still being paid for), but the dealership told him they had a glut of used SUVs they couldn't sell and wouldn't take it on trade.
You are correct about the current solar technology - we just are not there yet. Right now it is expensive and only a small percentage of the solar energy that hits the collector is converted to electricity. There is quite a lot of research going into this technology right now, and there are real hopes that the efficiency (higher % of sunlight converted to electricity) can be raised and cost dropped enough to make this a viable solution.
The engineering professor who showed us the "world running out of energy" model back at FSU in the early 70's painted a fairly bleak picture of the future. He was optimistic that engineers could fix the problem with technology that would use renewable energy. I am not so sure. How can we maintain the current population levels (much less higher levels) at the same standard of living and energy consumption that we are used to today? Eventually the coal & oil & uranium run out.
This has been an excellent thread - I have heard some very interesting ideas and have learned a lot.