Energy is so cheap and easy in 2015 that we all have flying cars and robot gas attendants.

That’s not the reality as of New Year’s Day, of course, but rather the “future” depicted in the hit 1989 movie Back to the Future Part II.

It’s easy to feel bitter that we’re still stuck in traffic on the ground, pumping our own gas, and now worrying about climate change, to boot. (Related: “Berkeley’s Guilt Trip: Driving Hurts the Planet.”)

Director Robert Zemeckis never intended to paint a realistic forecast, but it’s amazing how much of his vision of energy is taking shape. Science is trying to deliver not only skyward transport and renewable fuel, but also efficiency and solutions to lower greenhouse gases. Some examples:

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