By 2035, the number of vehicles on the road worldwide will double to 1.7 billion, according to the latest forecast from the International Energy Agency.
Not surprisingly, this rise in numbers is mostly attributed to the growth of the Chinese economy and its ever-increasing demand for automotives. Many people, including myself, often question whether the auto boom in China is really as spectacular as it's been portrayed. Well, according to the IEA, the growth in vehicles per capita in China looks something like this:
- 2000: 4 vehicles per 100 people
- 2010: 40 vehicles per 1000 people
- 2035: 310 per 1000 people
For comparison, the U.S. currently has 600 vehicles per 1000 people.
With so many vehicles rolling out worldwide, it raises two main points for concern: how will this increase in demand affect our efforts in curtailing emission levels and what will this increased demand mean for petrol prices?
One way to help reduce your everyday automotive outgoings as well as your personal carbon footprint is by joining a car sharing club. These are now widely available throughout the UK and are a great way for occasional car users to get around without having to carry the cost of vehicle upkeep.
It is estimated that the average British car owner spends between £3000 and £4000 per annum on tax, maintenance and other costs; and government initiatives such as the UK Commission for Integrated Transport, as well as NGO's including the Campaign for Better Transport, have cited car club membership as a valid way of reducing car ownership and the resulting congestion and pollution problems.
Car sharing and car clubs have been a popular choice of motorists in Central Europe since the late 1990s and are most prominent in Switzerland and Germany. These clubs give motorists the chance to either share their vehicle with neighbours (WhipCar) or give them access to a 'pool' vehicle which is provided by the Car Club Company (such as Zipcar or City Car Club). These vehicles are usually localised to a particular area or community and often have designated parking bays so car Club members can easily locate them.
For many, Car Clubs provide the ideal solution for combatting rising Carbon levels and depleting personal capital.