A nation hooked on cars

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  January 27, 2010

IN A PLACE LIKE RHODE ISLAND, WHICH DOES NOT HAVE GREAT PUBLIC TRANSIT, WHAT IS THE AVERAGE PERSON WHO MIGHT LIKE TO BREAK HIS CAR DEPENDENCE TO DO? Often people haven't tried [public transit]. They're thinking back to what it was like 10 years ago or 20 years ago when they tried it last. And things have gotten better in a lot of communities, and I think that's true in Rhode Island as well.

WHAT ABOUT THIS MOMENT GIVES US A CHANCE TO CHART A NEW PATH ON TRANSPORTATION? Unfortunately, the recession. We're not just asking people to drive less. We're asking people to think about how car costs have really taken an enormous bite out of household budgets. It's actually an average of $14,000 per family, per year, to own and operate the vehicle. I think what the recession has done is to collapse home prices. And the buying spree of more and more expensive and larger number of cars that happened in the '90s and the aughts was the result of a lot of people borrowing against the value of their homes. So I think the recession has made it, in some ways, more difficult for people to do that. If people get by with fewer cars they might come to see that, well, I can actually get by without those.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: Generation Green, Photos: Kirsten Hassenfeld at Bell Gallery, An Obama confidant on the surge in Afghanistan, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Politics, Business, Culture and Lifestyle,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIBERAL WARRIOR  |  April 10, 2013
    When it comes to his signature issues — climate change, campaign finance reform, tax fairness — Whitehouse makes little secret of his approach: marshal the facts, hammer the Republicans, and embarrass them into action.
    A key Brown University oversight committee has voted to recommend the school divest from coal, delivering a significant victory to student climate change activists.
  •   HACKING POLITICS: A GUIDE  |  April 03, 2013
    Last year, the Internet briefly upended everything we know about American politics.
  •   BREAK ON THROUGH  |  March 28, 2013
    When I spoke with Treasurer Gina Raimondo this week, I opened with the obligatory question about whether she'll run for governor. "I'm seriously considering it," she said. "But I think as you know — we've talked about it before — I have little kids: a six-year-old, an eight-year-old. I'm a mother. It's a big deal."
  •   THE LIBERAL CASE FOR GUNS  |  March 27, 2013
    The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut spurred hope not just for sensible gun regulation, but for a more nuanced discussion of America's gun culture. Neither wish has been realized.

 See all articles by: DAVID SCHARFENBERG