Written by Prognog Staff

One of the few beneficial consequences of the high gas prices these last few years, at least for electric car and alternative fuel vehicle enthusiasts, is a strong interest in developing and producing cars that don't rely on expensive and dirty fuels.  What we've seen in the last few months, owing to falling oil prices combined with an economy that has completely imploded, are gas prices that have fallen even quicker than they rose.  In fact, gas prices are levels not seen since at least 2004, and they're continuing to fall.

These might be great news for consumers looking to save money on fuel, and perhaps car makers who have seen the demand for their products nearly dry up completely.  But, will these low gas prices once again kill any prospects for a viable market of electric vehicles?

The LA Times recently reported that these falling prices can be both a blessing and a curse for automakers. They mention that "costly gasoline has pummeled vehicle sales in the U.S. this year and forced automakers to dramatically rejigger their lineups. They are closing truck factories, racing out small cars and investing in expensive alternative-fuel vehicles like hybrids and electric cars."  However, these changes were brought about with the expectation that gas would be in the $5-$6 a gallon range soon. Now that we've seen gas fall below $2 a gallon, consumers with short memories and a lingering desire for big trucks and SUVs may abandon their quest for fuel efficiency and return to their old ways.

Production of fuel efficient cars and development of electric and hybrid vehicles may come to a standstill.  Bob Lutz, General Motors Vice-Chairman and face of the companies electric car the Chevy Volt, was quoted as saying that although "we may hate high fuel prices, but they've been driving us in the right direction when it comes to fuel economy. If we suddenly went to $1 or $1.50 a gallon, that would be really bad."  And by bad he means the need to develop of fuel efficient cars and electric vehicles would simply evaporate.  Bye, bye Chevy Volt.