Photo: Flickr, CC
A Million More Internal Combustion Engines Burning Fossil Fuel
The latest statistics on passenger car sales from China are a good reminder that we need to seriously clean up the transportation sector, and quickly. In just the month of November, 98.2% more cars were sold in China than during the same month last year, setting a new monthly record. In November of last year, 522,800 cars were sold, while this year it was 1.04 million units. The number might look small to some, but remember that China's per capita income is around $3-5K (depending if you measure at exchange rate or purchasing power parity), so that's a lot of cars for what is still a developing country.
Beijing at night. Photo: Wikipedia, GFDL/CC
For the year-to-date (Jan-Nov), the numbers from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers show a 49.7% growth to 9.23 million units, and "auto sales, including commercial vehicles, rose 42.4% in the January-November period from a year earlier to 12.23 million units."
The WSJ writes:
CAAM's executive vice president and secretary general, Dong Yang, in November said he expected vehicle sales in China to exceed 13 million units this year, or about a 40% increase from 2008.
While the year-end period is usually a time for price wars, CSM Worldwide analyst Yale Zhang said dealers aren't eager to cut prices this time.
"The market is too strong," he said. "Dealers do not really have a lot of cars on their lots."
Auto-company executives and industry observers expect sales growth to slow to 10% to 15% next year.
The solutions that are good for the Western countries are also good for China: Good public transportation, walkable and bikable cities, fuel taxes (better if revenue neutral) to encourage more fuel efficient and smaller vehicles, and a transition to much more efficient technologies as soon as possible (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, etc).t
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