Anyone over the age of 25-years-old probably remembers the stigma that once surrounded cars that ran on anything other than gasoline. As recently as the 1990s, people used to scoff at the idea of driving electric cars. They were glorified golf carts, some people complained. But as technology is improving, so are vehicles that aren't so dependent on gasoline. And these cars aren't only about function, they're also about form.

This much was clear from this year's Washington DC Auto Show. Unlike most other auto shows, it isn't as focused on flashy cars as it is on policy. That means the automakers' bragging at the show focuses on fuel efficiency, instead of design. But these days, it's become clear that you don't have to sacrifice one to have the other.

You can see this pretty clearly through the gallery of 20 green vehicles below. They all utilize the latest technologies in different ways to provide better energy efficiency. Some do this through more efficient engineering, some use gasoline-hybrid technologies, while others rely on different fuel alternatives, like electric, natural gas, clean diesel, and hydrogen fuel cells.

From the auto show, one thing was clear: this is a very exciting time for engineers interested in creating more energy efficient vehicles. While one winner may eventually emerge, for now, a broad array of options will compete for the interest of the American consumer. And as gas prices continue to rise, it will become harder and harder to ignore these emerging technologies.