05/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What Does Carbon Regulation Mean For Your Next Car?

"With the first round of regulations, through 2020 or 2025, we're talking about taking conventional technology...which for 20 years we've been putting into acceleration, accessories, etc., -- taking that existing technology and putting it toward better fuel economy," he said.

So the days of commercials touting every car's zero-to-60 accelerating power, and the multiple-DVD minivan may be waning, but the internal combustion gas-powered engine will remain the dominant vehicle type for the next 10 or 15 years, by Thompson's estimation. It will be 2040 or 2050 before plug-in hybrids and other advanced technologies dominate the market, he predicted.