I'm due for a new (used) car relatively soon and would really prefer to get something that's either a hybrid or totally electric, but I also don't have a ton of free cash to throw at something.
You know, this article doesn't surprise me at all. Every time emissions regulations get stricter, you end up with more creative technology to eek out every last bit of power that you can from an engine. This is just one more step.
In a way, I kind of saw this coming about four or five years ago with the Mazda RX-8. Mazda had to pull the car out of the European market early due to being unable to meet fuel efficiency standards. Practically the day after people started talking about how the next Mazda rotary engine was going to be a hybrid. Not only would it help the car meet fuel standards, but it would also provided some much needed low end torque, something that rotary engines are sorely lacking. If such technology would be needed to make the rotary engine viable, it would only be a matter of time for it to apply to more traditional engines as well.
Who knows though? Maybe car companies will come up with some creative loopholes to get around laws, such as the PT Cruiser which was classified as a truck for fuel efficiency standards.