Yes, the price of gas needs to go up in order to make alternative fuels economically viable. Why bother with solar/electric etc when oil is still way cheaper?
Alternative fuels did get some attention after the Arab oil embargo in the 70's, but once the price dropped again, the oil companies said forget it. And they're not gonna start trying again now, either. Why? If the oil bubble bursts and the price crashes, most people will lose interest in hybrids and related technologies and they'll go right back to their old habits.
Alternative technologies should get more attention, but there's the minor problem of infrastructure. You could come up with a cheap all-electric car tomorrow and mass produce it the day after that, but how will you get all that new support technology out there?
With oil, the infrastructure (pipelines, refineries, etc.) developed as demand increased, so as cars became more popular, there was an incentive to develop the necessary facililties. Oil was "everywhere", so why not get a car?
Now, a whole new infrastructure needs to be put in; where's it going to go? There was a lot more open space 90 years ago than there is now. Can it run parallel with the oil delivery system? How will it be installed? That's a lot of money for something that's still not being fully embraced.
We dug ourselves in this hole; hopefully we'll wise up and drag our way out, no matter how painful it is.