Never ceases to blow my mind when people outside the US think 10 miles is a commute. I am not criticizing, it is just an interesting divergence of viewpoint.
Perhaps it's because roads in a lot of places are not very straight or even particularly smooth so that means a journey will take longer. Also, in 1980's UK, probably most house-holds only had one car, so being forced to buy a car to get to work is another expense. And fuel costs more in the UK. Oh, and also, driving a manual car with a little 1.3litre straight-four manual transmission versus (say) a 3 litre v6 automatic probably makes a journey seem a bit longer too. Especially with the rain druming on the roof... the whole fucking way. And back again!
We're not jealous by the way!