Ah, the Americans and their big automobiles. It's not surprising that they love their cars so much, because without it they would be trapped in their homes and cities unable to do anything.

In the last week I've been driving, driving quite a bit, attempting to find out precisely where this love affair comes from.

First I drove to the local burger joint, which of course had a drive-thru so I didn't have to get out of my rather large and lazy captain's chair.

Then I drove to the bank. Yes, before you ask, there are drive-thru banks in America and that allowed me to get out some cash without getting out of my car.

Then off to a shop that served me in my car to save me getting out, before heading over to the gas station (petrol station to you and me) to get some fuel. Being based in New Jersey has its lazy benefits in that I don't actually have to get out of the car for this either. State law says the petrol must be served by an attendant, so aside from the buck tip or remembering to turn off you car at the pump, I can be as forgetful as ever.

When I do get to pay, it's incredibly cheap. While my American friends all complain about the price of gas, its trebled in as many years to around $2.57 a gallon (the UK pays around $6.50), you can see why a UK driver might get excited. A tank of fuel is never more than around £15 including the tip.

So I've got a tank full of gas, I'm wearing my sunglasses and there is an open road ahead of me. In terms of the open road, for the most part, that's always the case. The roads, until you get in the city, are ridiculously empty and you get to pootle along at a senior citizen 55 miles-an-hour pace in fear of the state trooper pulling you over.

The lack of traffic in the countryside is because the roads are just so damn big, like 16 lanes big.

All that road space means it's like driving on the M11 20 years ago, before people realised that Suffolk actually had something to offer.

But having all that road comes at a price. They are shockingly managed with plenty of pot holes and kooky rules. In most states you can turn right (remember they drive on the right) on red. As long as there isn't traffic you are good to go. Pedestrians be damned. Of course this rule isn't the same in every state. New York, for example, you can't turn on red, but nobody tells you this until the cops flash the blues and twos.

Then there are the jug handles. In an attempt to keep traffic moving, anyone wanting to turn left on the freeway has to turn right some 200 yards before, then circle around in a big jug-handle-like move so they are then ready to cross the road at the junction, because you guessed it, they don't have roundabouts - well they do, but they are called a rotary.

As you can imagine, driving here is a very different experience to that of the UK. It's probably best described as a fat lazy experience with little buzz - virtually everything is automatic for example. You can see why the US loves the notion of Top Gear and its quirky cars, presenters and set pieces.

You can also see why America isn't sure how to tackle the changing business and ecological environment.

Talking to drivers from around the country it's not that people don't want the big gas-guzzling cars, it's just that they can't afford them. A big SUV has lots of parts, lots of metal and therefore costs lots of money.

If you're worried about your job, you aren't going to have $60,000 to spend on the latest Dodge or Ford truck that is the size of a bedsit in Earlsfield.

So you'll go for a smaller more European-type car, although not Peugeot, as they've never cracked America.

Americans are changing not through need, want or urge but sheer economics on manufacturing.

Until that day comes, which I believe is still a long way off, while I am here, I get to drive to the bank and grab the cash as if I was in yet another heist movie.

As for that love affair? It's obvious, this country is just too damn big to walk.