17 is horrendous! There are many cars that do ~60 around town (in the uk), there is only so much oil in the world :(
It is horrendous. That is why GM and Ford have had to get with the program. I had to buy my car with cash. I was limited as to what I could afford. Usually you have to buy Japanese to get this kind of mpg. We depend on our cars here. In the UK you have great transit options and then villages that have everything you need. You bike and walk. The USA is huge compared to England and the British Isles. Here, everything is far away, unless you live in a tiny town, then you're still going to have to travel to bigger cities for goods and good medical care.
As for there only being so much oil, there are new strides in alternative fuels.