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Why isn't there more emphasis on viable near term solutions like hybrid vehicles?

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It seems to me that the one area that would have the largest impact on any energy policy, and coincidentally, the one issue that none of the candidates talk about is subsidies. Our current structure (oil, coal) is so heavily subsidized that the market is in essence false. If we eliminated these subsidies (or scaled them down), renewables would be put on a level playing field and that would essentially determine our future energy policy. The market rather than piggybacking and pork barrel politics.

On the topic of energy efficient transportation, we keep hearing about currently non-viable alternatives like hydrogen powerered vehicles. Why isn't there more emphasis on viable near term solutions like hybrid vehicles? We have 10mpg HUMMERS all over the roads and hardly any hybrids.
Second point - if the US had maintained the commitment and investment in alternative energy research that was begun in the Carter administration, maybe we wouldn't be having debates on energy independence today.

Perhaps I missed it, as I was doing other things while listening, but
it seems to me the discussion missed the point: Energy independence
isn't about keeping prices low; it's about foreign policy - extricating
ourselves from the position of having to support autocratic regimes in
the Middle East. Bin Laden cites our military presence on Arab lands
as one of four key grievances underpinning Al Qaeda's war on America.
Energy independence is about national security, military expenditures,
military capacity to address emergent crises elsewhere, etc.

On your 30 issues segment about energy independence, nobody mentioned global warming. It is a lie that there is a split in scientific community about what causes it. Any and all scientists not working for energy companies agree; green house gasses from fossil fuel emission are the primary cause of global warming. Now there is a motive to get off of oil!

It was Darryl Hannah on the Late Late Show, not any media outlet or any politician that enlightnened me to a natural approach to fuel: diesel engines.
Diesel engines were originally designed to run on a variety of fuels including vegetable oil. When it was originally introduced in 1900 at the worlds fair, it ran on 100% peanut oil.

It should be feasible -- after all, a diesel auto engine will run (if badly) on common vegetable oil.
If fuel could be produced from vegetable oil, then the US's capacity to produce it could be close to limitless, no? (And maybe we could do away with farm subsidies in the bargain!)

your guest is saying it's beside the point to talk about renewable
energy for transportation because we don't currently use renewable
energy for transportation. The main point is that we're not even
trying, at present. It will be a long road, but we haven't even begun.

Who is more likely to follow through on alternatvie fuel and energy research......
someone whose income is dependent on fuel consumption i.e. Bush, Cheney?

Currently the world as a whole uses roughly 10 terra watts of energy, over the next 50 years it is estimated that the world as a whole will use somewhere between 30 to 40 terra watts of energy. Assuming that estimation is accurate the only source of energy that makes any sense is fusion power. What do the guests think about that as a supply for WORLD consumption not just USA consumption?

Government subsidies of new technology are always acceptable when there is an overwhelming public interest. A disappearing resource, such as oil, constitutes an overwhelming public interest. That is why we have a government.
Also, government subsidies are necessary to overcome the overwhelming inertia of the oil industry (inertia perpetuated, supported and motivated by the government in one way or another.)