There are many places in the US where a car is not optional. Outside the cities there is often no public transportation at all. And the way things are set up, if you manage to lead a cash-only existance, you are without credit, and are seen as suspicious. And if you have no credit (debt,) you cannot get a loan. (Debt.) Husband and I were refused a hotel room once, years ago, becuause we had no credit card. Even as he stood there in his Navy whites. They said if you did not have a credit card you would probably trash the room.
So the poor are in a bind. You need a car to work, you need debt to buy a car... You better hope you can balance on that ledge, you better hope nothing ever goes wrong.