The problem here is Los Angleles is that all the distances for a typical trip are much farther away than in Germany, and public transportation is very poorly implemented. Overall, we spend much more on gas.
I am fine because one of the requirements when I bought my house was that it had to be within biking distance of my workplace. I could have bough a house twice the size for half the price in the far suburbs, with the (then) small added cost of a longer commute. Now this cost advantage has disappeared due to the gas prices and home prices have dropped 40% in some of these areas because it is no longer viable to live there due to commuting costs. Foreclosures are going through the roof!
Houses in my area have held their value very well. 🙂
Anyway, recent surveys have shown a dramatic increase in the use of public transportation and freeway traffic is measurable lower (few %).
I remember when gas was $0.65 here. Here's a graph (in LabVIEW of course. Weekly gas price in California since 1995).
Looks like it could be easily fit by a simple exponential curve (I should try that!), so the outlook is not pretty. 😉