For Toyota advanced vehicle engineer and spokesman Bill Reinert the problem of selling greener cars to an uninformed public who hasn't the slightest notion of the concept of peak oil is just as daunting, if not more than so than actually creating the cars.

Reinert is a bit of an iconoclast at Toyota, he freely and sometimes bluntly speaks his mind and his speech to the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO USA) conference at Boston University was no exception. Speaking about the recent drop in gasoline prices in America, Reinert commented that light truck and SUV sales have already begun to rebound. He remarked, “What can I say, sheep are meant to be shorn.”

He noted in his opening that the auto industry is seen as the “cigarette industry” of today and that its lobby efforts have been just a successful. And while Toyota engineers are very bright and capably people, the success or failure of cleaner, greener, more energy-efficient vehicles is as much in the hands of the buying public as it is car makers.