On the topic of comparing the US to Europe, they also have the advantage of being much more condensed, making forms of mass transit more economical. Trains are the way to get around much of Europe. In the US, Amtrak can't even operate without government subsidies. I'd love to see an effective passenger rail industry in the US. I could imagine buying a cheap ticket to Napa for the weekend, checking my bike on a red eye and sleeping on they way down, spending two days riding, then head back. I bet I could do a weekend California getaway for less than $150 that way, and still be reasonably well rested when I got back.