It's not just in California where hybrid and plug-in cars are a political issue. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is working to take the issue global. They have launched a campaign to get General Motors, still the latrgest car manufacturer based in America, to speed up its hybrid offerings.
Right now GM is promising its hybrid, plug-in Chevy Volt for sale by 2010, which means they will all be on pre-order next year.
Says UCS, "Hybrid technology has the potential to provide us with cleaner, more fuel-efficient options in every vehicle class, as exemplified by the Ford Escape Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Toyota Prius."
Pluginamerica was founded specifically to lobby on behalf of the plug-in electric car. They have slogans to promote their cause, meant for bumper stickers, just like traditional issue politics. There are numerous tech companies on the plugin partner list: American Solar Electric, Blue Skies BioFuels, Gigawatt Solar, Liquid Sun, New Belgium Brewing (I know, old tech, but tasty nonetheless), Oceanlink Energy Solutions, Phoenix Motorcars, Silicon Valley Biodiesel. Those are just a few, also many publicly-owned utilities are supporters along with local governments. Thus the plug-in and electric cars have long ago become a political issue. But not one major political candidates will discuss often because they run the risk of infuriating the entrneched interests in Detroit which could lose any national candidate the state of Michigan. Thus are environmental issues influenced by the nearly random effect of the electoral college. If all our cars were made in Mexico or Morocco, it might be a very different political scenario for hybrid and alternative fuel cars in gthe U.S. Dream on.