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What would 5.5 billion cars look like?

November 14, 2011

I’ve often wondered what the world would actually look like if everyone lived the way Americans do. Sure, it would be a LOT more pressure on our natural resources, but just how much? It’s interesting to have actual numbers so I was excited (and a little scared) to see an article on the WSJ blogs this morning that addresses the question of how many additional cars there would be in the world if everyone adopted the American driving habit.

Answer? 4.5 billion.

There are already about 1 billion vehicles on the road, so add another 4.5 billion and just imagine what that would do to our environment, our cities, our infrastructure, our demand for natural resources. To put it in somewhat in perspective, the U.S. has 809 cars (and trucks and buses) per 1,000 people. China has 46 per 1,000 people.

4.5 billion…… I’m still trying to wrap my head around that number. I just imagine the entire world sitting in gridlock.

flickr/shanghai daddy

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