I agree, the mini nuclear reactor does sound like an interesting option.
I love gasoline engines but their inefficiency is SOO annoying.
I think we overhaul the entire transportation system. Make roads straight so...
We make cars big enough to fit a small rocket engine in it and run vehicles on a Hydrogen Oxygen reaction. It is highly renewable and cheaper. Plus it'll give you a rush you'll never believe.
We just need to make a few adjustments to road and teach people how to drive these new cars.
.. that would be an interesting experience.... but not necessarily cheap and think about the range. That and you need to find a way to drive enough Oxygen to allow the vehicle to work.
I voted for fuel cell vehicles though i am not to certain of their current applications. I am aware of a fuel cell bike that has a 200 mile range on i think it was 10 oz. of hydrogen. it has a 1 kilowatt nanofuel cell with a speed of 50 mph. really really light. should be out in the market on June or July in California (they have hydrogen pumps, according to what i have read). either way, i do not see the application of hydrogen fuel cell cars in the future. they require a large base, and large amounts of oxygen, but the amount of electric power that they generate (the prototype built by GM which costs around $5 million) is astonishing.
a hydrogen car can be built now for about $350,000, and the reason is storage and the cost of the precious metals used in the fuel cell systems themselves. the costs of a fuel cell has to decrease to $50 per kilowatt before it is competitive with the current automotive market and its currently at $1000 per kilowatt(may be achieved with advanced in nanotechnology or if an alternative catalysts other than platinum is found).
the advantage to this technology is that it will end dependance on oil or really any company for good. since it is possible to generate the fuel to power such a vehicle in your own home, probably attach some solar panels to drive forth the process of electrolysis. if on-board generation were possible to that would have little weight and would generate hydrogen in considerable amounts of pressure to generate the power necessary to power a car then i think that a fuel cell vehicles would have a strong market, now that the problems of storage would be solved and the range should be really really considerable. my Solar Energy teacher once told me that the fuel cell that i had, a single cell, if provided by 1 Liter of water would run a very small engine from Miami to New York and back before the water was finished.
that and fuel cells are the closest method of generating electricity i have ever seen, generating electricity in the ranges of 95-99% efficiency for a PEM fuel cell.
I think that the brighest future is seen in another kind of alternative fuel. perhaps Ethanol, some technology has been seen in this field, such as bacteria that dissintigrate organic materials into proof-199 ethanol that is able to be used on vehicles.