The annual SEMA Show
in Las Vegas is best known for speed-burning, hot-rod customs and plenty of outrageous gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. Fuel economy was never an issue in the 21 years I have covered this show. This has changed, be it ever so slightly, for the 40th anniversary of the show, which officially opens this morning. While I haven't spotted a Prius
yet, it's still early and there are more than 2,000 vehicles on display. I have seen a few of the more popular gas-miser compacts such as the Scion
and Chevy HHR
that have been completely decked out with custom paint, wheels and sound systems. That's a good sign. Some consumers may be tentative about buying a compact for fear of not driving a "cool" car. If SEMA
can prove anything, it's that any car can be modified and personalized to achieve "cool" status. I'll be at the show all week to report on all that is green here. I know there is at least one electric-vehicle company here, and I'm looking forward to Thursday when Erin Brockovich talks about fuel-saving magnets. And I promise, if there's a Prius rolling on dubs, I'll find it.