The number of stinky vehicles burning up non-renewable resurces on the roads across the world has now passed the 1 billion-unit mark, according to research from WardsAuto.
Ward’s say that the one billion landmark was passed last year, with their figures being based on government-reported registrations and historical vehicle-population trends.
Their study found that global registrations of cars, light, medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses leapt from 980 million units in 2009 to 1.015 billion in 2010. The figures do not include off-road, heavy-duty vehicles.
This 3.6% jump is the largest percentage increase in the vehicle population since 2000, with the 35.6 million year-on-year increase proving the second-biggest leap in overall car volume ever.
China leads the rush
Not surprisingly, China played a huge part in the increasing vehicle population growth in 2010, with registrations jumping 27.5%. The total number of vehicles on the road in the growing country soared by more than 16.8 million units to slightly more than 78 million.
This accounts for nearly half of the year’s global increase, and saw the country bagging the number two vehicle population slot, ahead of Japan’s 73.9 million vehicles.
India saw the second-largest growth rate, with vehicles up 8.9% to 20.8 million units, while Brazil’s roads creaked to an additional 2.5 million new vehicle registrations in 2010.
The US: home of the car
Although U.S. registrations grew modestly last year (less than 1%), the country remains stuffed to the hilt with va-hee-icles, registering 239.8 million units – which works out as one approximately one car for every 1.3 people.
Bad for the planet
Although the benefits of car ownership are obvious, the impact on the Planet Earth can not be understated.
With all those vehicles busy burning up dwindling oil supplies and polluting the air, the current trend doesn’t bode well for a climate challenged world.
Cycling schemes are at least attempting to entice users out of their comfy cars – street bike hire schemes in cities like London and Cardiff have proved successful, although we suspect that the sheer convenience of a car will continue to win out for many.
Reclaim the streets
Older readers will recall the battles of the 1990s to halt the road building campaign in the UK, with an activist group Reclaim The Streets having some sucess in eventually influencing government road policy.
Although many countries in the West are actively pursuing policies to decrease car use, the real battleground remains in the developing nations, where it’s quite hard to put up an argument why they shouldn’t enjoy the very same transport freedoms that we’ve enjoyed for decades.