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The Economist: "Seeing the back of the car"

Link to web site

"Cars are integral to modern life. They account for 70% of all journeys not made on foot in the OECD, which includes most developed countries. In the European Union more than 12m people work in manufacturing and services related to cars and other vehicles, around 6% of the total employed population; the equivalent figure for America is 4.5% of private-sector employment, or 8m jobs.

"They dominate household economies too: aside from rent or mortgage payments, transport costs are the single biggest weekly outlay, and most of those costs normally come from cars.

"... But in the rich world, the car’s previously inexorable rise is stalling. A growing body of academics cite the possibility that both car ownership and vehicle-kilometres driven may be reaching saturation in developed countries — or even be on the wane, a notion known as 'peak car'."

Later article:

Link to web site

"Distant peak car"

"IN 1924 FORD ran an advertisement headlined 'His First Car', urging fathers to buy their teenage sons their first set of wheels. The idea caught on. For boys especially, learning to drive became an essential part of growing up. By the late 1970s 86% of American 18-year-olds—of both sexes—had a driving licence. But then the trend went into reverse: researchers at the University of Michigan found that in 2010 only 61% of 18-year-old Americans had licences.

"Other rich countries are going the same way. Teenagers are showing less interest in cars as they turn their attention to smartphones and social networking.

"... One reason for concern is that half the world’s population now lives in towns and cities, which have only so much space for cars. Even in rapidly growing car markets such as China, city governments in the more prosperous parts of the country are beginning to restrict new car registrations and invest heavily in public transport."

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