Thoughts on an expense that is not inevitable
Here in Northern California gas is running just shy of $5 a gallon. Half a tank on my little four cylinder hatchback set me back $45 last week. I don't drive much at all so that much gas will last a month or two. Honestly, I don't really need the car since I live in San Francisco, can get most daily places on foot, absolutely anywhere with my electric assist bike, and transit is everywhere. But the car is a "nice to have" from time to time. The price of gas is irrelevant to me by design.
Thanks for writing a thoughtful piece on the cost of car ownership. (As an aside, I find it frustrating that so many people look at the horrors of war and only think of their own wallets. Yes, the high cost of gas is making life harder for many, but gosh, have some perspective.)
I just wanted to add my 2 cents in saying that the *true* cost of doing your grocery runs is much, much higher. The cost of just owning a car (depending on make/model) without driving it anywhere is in the thousands of dollars per year. Where I live, in Australia, it easily costs you $5000 or more to just own a car and keep it registered, insured, maintained, etc. So if you add that to the cost of acquiring a car, the true cost of doing your grocery run is likely many multiple times of what you wrote.
I believe that car dependency has been absolutely devastating to our cities. We built terribly inhumane spaces that are unhealthy in so many ways. There are lots of studies that show that prioritising walking, cycling and transit benefits everyone, including those who have to drive. We need to go back to designing cities that work for people, not cars. Anyway, I'm sure you know this already.
Lastly, a great person to follow is Brent Toderian who summarises all that is wrong about car dependency perfectly in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgExzJs0irU&feature=youtu.be
Most Americans are unhappy about the state of the economy and President Biden’s handling of it despite record job growth, increasing wages and the infrastructure work that is upcoming as states receive their federal funds. I believe that the current wave of inflation staring them in the face everyday for higher gas and food prices is a primary source of their disgruntlement. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is only going to make the situation worse. The White House and the government’s authority to change the situation is severely limited. What to do? Hang tight and hold the course. Little help & no consolation to those already on the edge financially.