The disadvantages of relying on a carbon economy for transportation are well known, yet pushes to move to an alternative energy economy often face significant opposition. Nissan has a great ad out wondering what would happen if everything ran on gas.

It’s a new take on the argument, and it forces us to think somewhat differently about the debate.

Normally, we talk about reducing the number of things that pollute (or reducing the amount that each pollutes). And while most people agree that a cleaner Earth is a better Earth, not everyone agrees that the cost is worth it.

But if we were suddenly faced with a world where everything had a tailpipe, we might feel differently.

Of course, the point of this ad is actually to make us wonder what would happen if everything didn’t run on gas. (And also to sell their new electric car.)

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Dupont Circle. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.