To many, many drivers and car owners, the idea that the internal-combustion engine could go away is almost beyond comprehension.
It's been with us for a century, it's vastly expanded both freedom and economic opportunity for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and it's wrapped into our daily lives.
And yet, we're starting to see discussion of just that idea.
Or as we wrote yesterday, the "death of the internal combustion engine is now a thing."
It was sparked six weeks ago by China's announcement that it is considering a timetable for ending the sale of new vehicles with combustion engines.
That aligns nicely with its desire to dominate global sales of lithium-ion battery cells and electric cars, not to mention addressing the horrendous and hazardous air pollution in its major cities.
When will the U.S. ban sales of new cars with engines?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) October 23, 2017
While Norway and The Netherlands had both announced versions of a similar ban, they are tiny markets without much clout in global auto sales.
China is by far the world's largest car market, one that has grown from a few hundred thousand vehicles a year 20 years ago to 31 million last year—vastly outstripping the 17.5 million sold last year in the U.S.
So our new Twitter poll asks when followers think the U.S. might enact a similar ban.
The choices cover a fairly wide range of alternatives, from a very aggressive 2025 through more plausible 2035 or "2050 or later."
Chevrolet Bolt EV being charged outside Go Forth electric-car showroom, Portland [photo: Forth]
There's also a "Never" choice, although frankly we'd be surprised if vehicles with tailpipes are still widely sold at the turn of the 22nd century.
Still, this is one of our polls where we don't really feel we can predict the results ahead of time.
As always, please note that our Twitter polls are far from scientifically valid, due to small sample size and self-selection by those who choose to participate.
But if you're on Twitter, this week will be your chance to weigh in on how you think the future of vehicle technology and emissions will play out in the U.S. in a landscape very different from that before China's announcement.