The New America Foundation has a new, sharp report out on what they call "the energy trap." With prices for gas climbing, many Americans want other, better options for getting around, but they have little choice but to keep pouring money into the gas stations. Just check out the map in the first chapter to watch the country go from light pink (less than $300 spent on gas per month per household) to dark red (greater than $400 spent) in one year.
To understand America's abusive relationship with gasoline and cars, NAF interviewed "scores of people" and conducted a sociological survey about gas prices. People told NAF that they "cut back other expenses—groceries, children's school, medicine—to pay for gasoline, because they felt they had no choice." And it's not just that gas is expensive. Cars are expensive, and for many families make up more of the family budget than taxes or health care.
The report does have a couple of ideas for immediate fixes to this problem: Reduce transit costs for the middle class and target help to the places that need it most. But one of the most important things this report does is put the lie to the idea that Americans just blindly love driving. We have to. We don't have any other choice.