conduit or direct bury?
I'm running a wire for an electric light from the house to the street (~350 ft). Should I put it in (plastic) conduit or use direct bury cable? I'm assuming that either in conduit or out I would use waterproof wires, UF-B cable for direct bury or THWN-2 for conduit since I can't guarantee that water will never enter the conduit. The trencher maks a 24" deep slit. I know the UF needs to be in conduit where it comes out of the ground.
Some people have said use direct bury because it's easier, the conduit advocates say conduit offers better protection against gnawing critters. The inspector says either is fine. UF-B is cheaper, but not by a lot in the grand scheme. The cable will run under what will become an asphalt driveway for part of its length.
What's the collective wisdom here?
(another mystery, Why is buying wire made up into a cable so much cheaper than individual conductors??)