If you've been to the pump, you know that gas prices are stifling. Crude oil is at a 21-year high. Meanwhile, you have orange juice futures down 35% over the past year as a bumper crop and a lack of demand from carb-counting dieters have weighed on the once-popular breakfast beverage.

It leaves one to wonder if we could just find a way to power our cars with a carton of O.J. Or, better yet, with Krispy Kreme (NYSE:KKD) getting hit from all sides, whether there might not be a way to stuff glazed doughnuts into our tanks to motor us along?

It's with that jaded mindset that I figured I would pull up the quotes on some of the once-popular alternative fuel specialists. It had been awhile since I had checked out the latest happenings over at Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP) or FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL), but I figured that folks fed up with soaring prices at the pump might bid up these fuel-cell pioneers.

No such luck. FuelCell trades at less than a third of where it was when it peaked four years ago. Ballard's fall from its Y2K highs has been even more severe. The stock is down from the triple to the single digits. The same can be said for peer Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG).

Yet, in an election year in which gas prices may drive candidates out on certain limbs, this is a sector worth revisiting. Yes, the stocks may appear to be running on empty, but as far as "story stocks" go, these are fuel-packed.

What do you think of fuel cells? Do you think they will become more popular in time? Are the current players overvalued? All this and more -- in the Fuel Cells and the 21CENTURY discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wouldn't mind driving a hybrid. Then again he's also suffered lately as a Krispy Kreme shareholder. However, he does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned in this story.