If you're looking for a cheap, energy efficient way to get around the city, an electric vehicle may be just your (canvass) bag.
Light, or neighborhood, electric vehicles run entirely on a battery and have a range of about 30 to 40 miles per charge. They are street legal in Chicago, but you can't take them on the highways.
Matra's concept model even has a bicycle with an electric motor that folds up into the LEV, so you always have two options to get around. Both the LEV and the bike recharge with through a solar panel on the LEV's roof.
If you're thinking seriously about getting a LEV but are worried about the cost, don't forget the 10 percent federal tax credit you'll get if you buy one before 2011.