"Hybrids and hydrogen powered cars were gaining momentum in the early 2010s when substantial press rose up against them -- defunct batteries were crowding landfills said the media. And the hydrogen -- well, it was doing something too. It didn't really matter what. It was going to hurt the environment worse than oil. And coincidentally, oil prices were falling."
Of course this slowed any progress in directions away from oil and, well, when the others in the solar system made themselves known in 2020, the Martians were quick to laugh about and feed our oil addiction.
Now Smitty has talked about parallel realities -- something I think they're more mathematically aware of in his day. And it'll be interesting to see if we really keep on the road of oil, or if we're ready for something better.