Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I agree with some of what you say regarding an aversion to mass transit, by the "wealthy" in particular.  I've known some people who would refuse to take mass transit.  However, I also believe that it's pretty much just those who consider themselves too wealthy or too good these days.

Another real issue (and I still maintain that a car can be a necessity when there are no real alternatives)is the cost of taking the bus or train. It's quite expensive around here (until recently) and the cost of the train is even higher during commuting hours.  One could drive a car for less than the cost of taking the train, especially if the non-commuting costs of car ownership were considered "sunk" costs (that is you had to have a car anyway.) I have long thought that mass transit should be more heavily subsidized at the expense of automobile ownership and highway construction.  That may be the only way to wean Americans off their cars but I don't give it much of a chance.

The reason people drive large gas guzzling vehicles has been the very affordable (OK cheap) price of gasoline in this country.  The recent dramatic rises in that price have caused many folks to reconsider their options, but if the price doesn't continue to rise they'll just buy new gas guzzlers after they get over the initial shock.  People like lots of room, plenty of zoom and a comfortable ride. A minority, like myself, don't care that much about such things but that's an anomaly.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 10:06:51 PM EST
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