We talk all of the time about those gas prices and how they continue upward this spring. And we are actually getting a break in New Jersey. Our gas prices are averaging about 20 cents a gallon cheaper than the rest of the nation.

And we know there is a great push, has been for a long time, to get us out of our cars and into mass transit. You have heard all of the reasons, save energy, good for the planet. But right here, where we live in New Jersey, there are mass transit experts who admit that because of our underdeveloped mass transit system, the car remains our main form of transportation.

So where does that leave you, Jersey driver?

Well, we mentioned higher gas prices. And there is the troubling news that nine auto insurance companies that do business in the state have been granted increases for premiums. And we all have heard the stories ad nauseum about the toll hikes. We have also reported disturbing stories that some of us may be neglecting important maintenance on our vehicles for things like brakes and lights...even tires, because the state no longer officially inspects for those safety items. Are some of us opting to ignore this maintenance because after gas and tolls and insurance, we find we cannot spend any more money on the car?

Can we afford our cars?

"Gee buddy, I have to get to work." "I have to get to school."