I know, you need your cars for basic tasks. To go to work, to shop. And you have no alternative.
I know, a gas tax is regressive, and hits the poor hardest.
But until gas taxes are jacked up - and continue to be jacked up regularly (Europe stopped increasing taxes in the last 90s, and we started moving towards bigger cars again soon afterwards), we'll continue to burn oil as if there were no tomorrow, and the price will be paid by random coastlines (remember the Torrey Canyon, the Santa Barbara platform, the Amoco Cadiz, the Exxon Valdez, the Erika and many more before the BP spill), and... by us as taxpayers, in the form of oversized military budgets whose purpose is largely to protect oil shipping lanes and friendly oil regimes (never mind the population of the countries variously invaded and bombed along the way).
There are viable alternatives, they are just less convenient in the short term. If we don't make the "convenient" pay the price it really costs us, today in indirect ways, and in the future likely in very direct ways. Of course, today's infrastructure and our way of life is largely organised around cheap oil, and can't be turned around in the short term. But we have to get started. And the only way is to make oil appear to be as expensive in monetary terms as it actually is.
And yes, it is possible to use the tax revenues generated to put money directly in the pockets of the poorest and hardest hit (like rural populations) AND to channel it into new infrastructure.