Autopia was designed to showcase the then-new freeway system that the Eisenhower administration had started... I think what Disney ought to do is repurpose the ride (more specifically, the cars) to showcase a more current design of technology - small hybrids, electrics, or Fuel Cell Vehicles perhaps? I'm seeing a few pieces of sponsorship by Honda in the parks these days - perhaps they could use that to their advantage? The challenge will be designing a new alternative-source car that's as durable as what they're using now.
Autopia for me is a fun novelty ride - I basically just put my foot on the gas and take my hands off and enjoy the scenery in TL ;P. But I think it's still a great ride for small children who just want to drive a "real" car for a minute.