China's soaring vehicle population: Even greater than forecasted?
China's vehicle population is widely forecasted to grow 6-11% per year into the foreseeable future. Barring aggressive policy intervention or a collapse of the Chinese economy, we suggest that those forecasts are conservative. We analyze the historical vehicle growth patterns of seven of the largest vehicle producing countries at comparable times in their motorization history. We estimate vehicle growth rates for this analogous group of countries to have 13-17% per year--roughly twice the rate forecasted for China by others. Applying these higher growth rates to China results in the total vehicle fleet reaching considerably higher volumes than forecasted by others, implying far higher global oil use and carbon emissions than projected by the International Energy Agency and others.
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