In most countries around the world, at least the ones I have visited, you don't need to own a car to get to work, school, or to visit folks. Even in the country side in places without paved roads, you can still get around. Whether bus, train, motor taxi or public cars, you can get wherever you need to go. Usually at a reasonable cost.
Except in the US. We have built our cities on a cheap petroleum model where individual transport is the default option. We have to rely on destroying the environment and dealing with dictatorships just to get to work and back. We are the fattest people around and pay millions to try to lose weight. What's wrong with this picture? Besides everything?
After the 9/11 attack, I had a fantasy that we had a president who would really lead us into the future. First, no more oil from terrorist dictatorships like Saudi Arabia. Every patriotic American would park their car, except in emergencies. We would boycott foreign oil and walk, telecommute, ride bikes, take buses or roller skate if we had to.
Secondly, we would put a huge surtax on the gas we produce domestically, making it really expensive, like ten bucks a gallon. People who were weathly enough to pay that would be contributing to a fund to pay for new public transit lines for the rest of us. And gas could still be available for emergencies.
Thirdly, we would take all the billions we would have used to go to war with some horribly oppressive desperate wartorn country (cough Afghanistan cough) and use it to award students, scientists and inventors generous grants in a no-holds-barred multi-year solar and alternative technology push.
Finally, we do everything we can to make communities locally self-sufficient so we don't have to move goods hundreds or thousands of miles if we don't have to.
Then I woke up and discovered that George Bush was still president. Well, a girl could dream.