A few years ago at the first Lost River Road Race, a man in a pickup truck yelled toward me, "Roads aren't for bicycles! Roads are for taxpaying cars!"
It got me thinking: what are the costs of bicycles compared to the costs of cars? Yes, cars seem to raise more revenue for the government because, in Virginia, for instance, they are taxed, and some states levy a small gas tax. There are also licensing and other fees associated with car ownership.
But these merely direct and obvious sources of state revenue. They are only a small part of the total picture of car ownership.
What about state expenditure?
There are the obvious costs: cars require roads and they put a lot of wear and tear on them; cars require oil that is increasingly scarce; the environmental costs of global warming and loss of habitat. Then there are the not-so-obvious costs: the effect of sending so much U.S. currency overseas; the health effect of an hour spent merely sitting in a vehicle; the funding of Arab extremism and the cost of wars and politics in the name of oil.