All design should be sustainable. It should not just be a hobbyhorse for tree-huggers and save-the-planet gurus. Designers should not base their sensibilities on the few who wish to change our perceptions of what, and what will not, allegedly save the planet.

Car design is not about being good or bad in the eyes of our perceived moral guardians - it's about being able to produce cars that are efficient. And it should be about sensible choices.

I read a passage in a book recently that sums up pretty much how I feel: "Good intentions that are not clothed in reason lead to greater disasters than actions built on ill-will."

There is no point in trying to save the planet. It's doomed anyway. When God's great light in the sky goes out, which it eventually will, no number of environmentally friendly cars are going to save us. Instead of trying to attain the impossible, why not manage what's left - sensibly.

What is the point in foisting green cars on New Zealanders and other developed countries, when the Third World is going to continue to produce cheap, nasty and badly made cars for the masses? India is looking to provide a billion cars in the next 10 years for its growing population. You can bet your bottom dollar they will not be environmentally friendly.

No one gives a toss about what New Zealand thinks, nor do we have any influence on the likes of India, Pakistan, China or Russia.

New Zealanders can now buy any car they want. Cars are more affordable, the fleet is more modern, safe and fuel-efficient - despite what some would say.

It's akin to Chicken Little running around telling us the sky will fall in if we continue to drive around in internal combustion-engineered cars. Far too many governments jump on the latest tree-hugging bandwagon in an effort to scare us all into misguided "save the world" policies.

The modern internal combustion car is about the most efficient means of propulsion we have at the moment. It's cheap to manufacture, run and maintain. It doesn't need a physicist, a chemist, an electrician or a mechanical engineer to service it either. If we ever see a hydrogen-powered car in reality, I doubt you'll be taking that down to the local garage to get it tuned. More likely you'll be taking out another mortgage.

Roger Kerr, executive director of the Business Round Table, told the Automobile Association in 2001: "Around the world there has been a shift in policies and politics as the environmental fears of the 1970s proved largely groundless, although this has been slow to happen in New Zealand."

The Economist magazine noted in a survey of energy that, "The idea of hydrocarbon scarcity that once haunted policy debates is now largely defunct."

Despite a blip last year in oil prices, they have come back to sensible levels, and are well below 1970s prices in real terms.

In addition, technological advances in unleaded petrol, ethanol mixes and the catalytic converter means cars emit less pollution than 30 years ago.

I wonder how much longer it'll take for the Green Party to stop telling us what to do and come up with some sensible options.

Chrysler, Honda, Ford, Nissan and GM crushed thousands of electric cars a decade or so ago because the batteries cost about $30,000. But manufacturing costs haven't come down that much recently.

Sure, improve on existing technology but don't chuck out something that works.

One way to reduce emissions would be to introduce more toll roads - that way people will think twice before going on an unnecessary trip.

There is one burning question yet to be answered by those who want to impose electric or hybrid cars on everyone. What's going to happen to all the batteries?

More coal-fired stations will be required to provide more power to a grid that can't cope with energy demand now, let alone when thousands of cars are plugged in overnight.

There's lots of talk about hydrogen-powered car these days but we are yet to see one on public roads.

Then there's the case of the ceramic engine.

Many cars have parts made out of ceramics - the more ceramics an engine has, the less oil is required for lubrication. Texas A&M built an all-ceramic four-cylinder engine that developed 900bhp. It also proved to be quite fuel-efficient, so Exxon Mobil bought the patents and shelved it. Funny how no government insisted that be put it into production.

Go-green cars are over-priced and underdeliver. Why would anyone pay twice as much for half the performance? Until environmentally friendly vehicles cost less than existing choices, there will never be a large-scale take-up.

It's not a good look for tree-huggers, politicians, scientists and philosophers, to tell those who produce most of the country's GDP, and consequently pay the wages of many people, what they should and should not be driving.

And it's a hard pill to swallow, when many who push for environmentally friendly cars have their backsides firmly planted in the supple leather seats of 7 series BMWs.

My solution is that we go nuclear. Nuclear-powered cars (space satellites use a pea-sized chunk of plutonium to power themselves for decades) would only need to be refuelled about every 10 years.