Consider the following statistics:

1) There are 115 million households in the United States.

2) 58.1% of American households have at least two cars.  20.1% have three or more.

3) The IRS currently estimates that it costs 50 cents a mile to maintain a personal automobile.

4) The average American vehicle drives 12,334 miles each year.

Do the math, and you’ll discover that if every American household with more than one car gave up one of its cars, the total savings would be nearly 412 billion dollars per year. What if our country embarked on a ten-year program to build a high-speed rail system, and we used the money that we’re spending on our additional automobiles? We could finance a system worth over 4 trillion dollars.

Admittedly, in today’s political climate, such a program will never happen. But the hypothetical exercise reminds us how wasteful our "one-person, one-car" system of transportation is, and how much better things could be if we could break out of the car culture that has gripped the United States for over 60 years now.

In the coming months,  there will be a series of articles on the Seminal called "Driven to Destruction." It will unearth some of the sordid history of how the country became so car-dependent, how this dependency has become harmful in so many ways, and how we can begin to move forward to a more sane and sustainable system of transportation.

Please come along for the ride!