still same amount of time invested in flying as driving
Not even close. Five hours driving to the center of Houston if there is zero traffic. To fly, you leave your house in the GNO area one hour before flight time. Two and one half hours later you're walking out of Hobby. I go doorway to doorway from Old Metairie to my office west of Houston (Beltway) in three hours. And I do it about 35 times per year.
As to cost, if you drive a POS you can probably do it for $0.3 per mile. Those who think they can do it for less just don't understand the true costs. That's about $90 one way. If you have a carload of people, and don't mind the extra time, it's cheaper to drive.