Can I Please Get Paid to Not Own a Car?

Today, Illinois state officials have announced a new program to encourage the purchasing of fuel-efficient vehicles by giving owners a $1000 rebate. And that's just Illinois. The federal government offers a federal income tax credit of up to $3,400 to hybrid-purchasers.

Why is it that tax credits are being offered to people that buy hybrids? I realize that they're better than average cars, but they're still cars. They still emit pollution. They're not going to make the environment any better. Meanwhile, there is a way to travel that's much more environmentally conscious than hybrids: PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!!

If the public policy behind these provisions is that "it is better for the environment to drive fuel-efficient vehicles," then shouldn't the public policy also be that "it is better for the environment not to drive at all"? If that's the case, isn't the government illogically (and unjustly) giving one class of environment-helpers up to $4,400 to drive more efficiently, and giving another class of environment-helpers $0 to not drive at all. Wait, I just remembered -- I have to pay to use trains, buses, and subway systems! So make that negative money not to drive. I'm being punished because I don't own a car, hybrid or not.

If someone can get thousands of dollars for purchasing a gas-guzzling piece of machinery, then I should at least get to travel on the "L" for free. That's not asking too much, is it?