The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Number of Cars

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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"The Automobile." New Book of Popular Science.6th ed. Republic of China: Grolier, 1978. "In 1900 only 4,192 passenger cars (and no trucks or buses) were built in the United States." 4,192
"America Start Your Engines." US News and World Report. (27 December 1999). "At the start of the century, when America had only 8,000 cars and 144 miles of paved roads, the brake on an auto resembled that on a horse buggy: a padded stick pressed against a wheel." 8,000
Brooklyn Public Library. Electronic Mail. 30 May 2001. "Automobile Manufacturers Association's 1970 Automobile Facts and Figures,
Passenger cars, World Total, 1968: 169,994,128.
Trucks and buses, World Total, 1968: 46,614,342."
"The World in Figures, compiled by The Economist, it indicates the number of passenger cars worldwide in 1985 was 375,000,000, while in the same year, the number of commercial vehicles was 109,000,000." 375,000,000
"Citing Ward's Motor Vehicle Facts & Figures, 1999, this almanac reports that, in 1996, the most recent date covered, there were 485,954,000 cars registered worldwide, and 185,404,000 trucks and buses, for a total, worldwide, of 671,358,000 motor vehicles." 485,954,000
Stein, Jay. New Cars for Better Future: Driving Us Crazy. Earthgreen, 1990. "You probably have known that the world's human population is increasing dangerously. So is the world's car population. In 1970, there were 200 million cars in the world. In 1990, there were almost 500 million." 200,000,000
"Automobile." World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book, 2001. "About 450 million passenger cars travel the streets and roads of the world." 450,000,000
Cars Emit Carbon Dioxide. Global Warming, Focus on the Future, 1997. "There are over 600 million motor vehicles in the world today. If present trends continue, the number of cars on Earth will double in the next 30 years." 600,000,000

If an alien were to land on earth, the first thing he would notice about the "green planet"is the amount of cars there are on the streets. He would see that they come in all shapes and sizes, colors and are of many different brands. He would attempts to count the cars, but would get lost quickly because no brain can comprehend a number so large. In 1900 there were only 4,192 passenger cars built in the US (the only country to be manufacturing cars). There were no buses or trucks. By 1985 there were 109 million cars in existence. Today, with dozens of countries participating in the creation of automobiles, that number is six times larger.

It is estimated that there are approximately 600 million motor vehicles being driven on the streets of earth, the alien would be dumbfounded with this number. The biggest manufacturers are Japan, producing 8,056,000 cars in 1998, the US, with 5,554,000, and Germany with 5,348,000. With passing time, these numbers experience a rapid growth. For example, in 1960 Japan produced 185,000 cars, but by the end of the 1990s it was producing nearly 10 million a year. It is believed that at this growth rate, the number of cars on earth will double within the next 30 years. In this time scientists predict that traffic congestion will become 10 times worse than it is today. If in 2001 it is difficult to cross a major street without having to wait five minutes for the traffic to stop, how long will one have to wait in 2050?

Today the alien will notice that with such a large number of cars and people on earth, there are approximately ten people per car. But what will happen when he returns for a second trip in a hundred years? Will there be as many cars as people, or maybe by that time we'll have discovered a new method of transportation that is much more efficient and eco-friendly than the car? Only time can tell.

Marina Stasenko -- 2001

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Miller, Leslie. Cars, trucks now outnumber drivers. Salon. 29 August 2003. "There are 107 million US households, each with an average of 1.9 cars, trucks or sport utility vehicles and 1.8 drivers, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported. That equals 204 million vehicles and 191 million drivers." 204,000,000
(US 2003)

Editor's Supplement -- 2003

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