You express perfectly one of the major differences between living in the largely rural West and the megalopolis which is the Boston-Providence-NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington, DC corridor. For example, in NYC owning a car is not a necessity. It isn't even a luxury. It's a liability. Why anyone living in an apartment or condo in Manhattan would want to assume the headache of car ownership is beyond me. On the other hand, in most western states to be without a car is to be effectively immobile. And it's not just an East/West thing. You get north or west of that megalopolis and, once again, personal transportation becomes essential. You can't live in Maine or New Hampshire or Vermont without wheels. For all practical purposes, there is no such thing as public transportation. But it works wonderfully in many cities with a high population count. Trains, trolleys, buses -- I love 'em. When I'm in a strange city, I make it a point of learning how the locals get around. I've ridden the CRT from O'Hare Airport to my hotel in Chiacgo, use the Metro regularly whenever I'm in Washington, DC, and as for NYC, there's no other sensible way of getting around except by subway.