Many people in America are “car poor,” which means they are dumping much of their cash into their vehicle. Just like being “house poor,” this is when you pour money into something you own only to end up being broke. The vast majority of Americans own cars.
Overall, most of us are a part of this society that is draining our bank accounts to get from point A to point B. Take a look at the ways cars keep us poor here.
30. Higher Property Taxes
The car is king in the United States, as evidenced by our sprawling metro areas full of strip malls and drive-thru restaurants. In many urban areas, suburbs are heavily subsidized by property tax investments. Car culture has led to suburb culture. It’s such a popular way of living that many local and state governments heavily subsidize the expansion and maintenance of said suburbs. We all pay higher taxes to keep up with sprawling road maintenance, stop lights, and more for commuter culture. We also pay for subsidizing large property lots, cul-de-sacs, and other suburban development trappings.
Walking and bicycling infrastructure is far cheaper to build than vehicle infrastructure. However, so many people are accustomed to driving everywhere for everything. Even if it’s only a block or two away, there tends to be little public support for walking and bicycling improvements, even in large cities. Large, expensive road maintenance projects tend to be funded year after year without much scrutiny or public input. Why? Because we know we need to fix roads. While homeowners see this spending reflected on their property tax bills, renters face ever-growing rent payments to help property owners keep up.