Maybe it’s time to put a hold on the production of new cars for a while.
According to WardsAuto.com, the number of operational vehicles worldwide passed the 1 billion mark in 2010. And with around 60-70 million new cars selling every year, it will take only 15-20 years to double that amount.
While the odds are slim of actually getting to the point where cars outnumber the almost 7 billion people on Earth, it’s alarming that humanity has the need for over a billion carbon-emitting, fuel-drinking machines to satisfy our transport needs. According to some quick Wiki research, there are about 5 billion people on Earth over the age of 15, which would give an approximate car-to-driver ratio of 1 to 5. By that logic it would seem the current supply of vehicles is about in line with the world’s need.
However, since many developed countries, especially the U.S., consist of people who hoard as many cars as they can, ratios in specific countries tell a much different story.
Holding the highest ratio in the world is the U.S.’s population of 310 million, at 1 car for every 1.3 people. That’s right, in this country, there are nearly enough cars for every man, woman and child to have one. Kind of disgusting, no?
Italy isn’t much better, coming in second at 1 car for every 1.45 people. The UK, France, and Japan are all around 1-to-1.7. China’s 1.3 billion population has a ratio of about 1:17, and India, with the second-largest population in the world, has a ratio of about 1:56. Maybe if we focused on building cars for the people who really need them or let the used-car markets fuel the demand in developed countries for a while we’d accomplish three goals: reduced emissions, fewer cars on the roads and better distribution of vehicle supply.
Of course, this is all pie-in-the-sky stuff that just proves a point more than anything else. It seems like the United States and other developed countries should dump some older cars before building new ones, maybe even ship a few million over to India. Spread the wealth a little, you know?
Are there too many cars in the United States?