Should we be worried about the number of cars in and from China?

An editorial on The Toronto Star website advises us to be worried about China. I know some who are worried that China is growing too fast. Which is in direct relation to what this article's writer is worried about is that the 1.3 million bicycle riders in China will abandon their bikes for cars. This is essentially what happened in the Unites States and Europe years ago, when the masses gave up their horses, carriages and bicycles for cars. This took place as soon as it became financially feasible. That opportunity may soon coming in China, with their economy expanding rapidly and their manufacturing capabilities growing seemingly every day. Malcolm Bricklin's Visionary Vehicles would like to tap those capabilities with his newest venture. And, Chinese carmakers are showing up in Detroit for the auto show. Chinese motorcycles can be had for next to nothing on eBay, will cars be next?

Some quotes from the article:

  • "According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, car sales in China in the first half of 2006 climbed almost 50 per cent, year-on-year, to 1.8 million.
  • "The gains come on the heels of 21.4 per cent growth in car sales for 2005, with sales of luxury cars doing particularly well. Before the 1980s China did not allow private citizens to purchase vehicles for private use and there were few automobiles on the roads. By 2005, there were 20 million cars in use. By 2020, it is estimated, there will be 140 million.
  • "With China's new wealth come bigger houses, each requiring more energy, not only to build, but to heat in the winter and cool in the summer, producing additional climate warming gases. Last Nov. 22, the China Daily reported that in the first half of 2006, emissions of sulphur dioxide increased by 4.2 per cent, chemical oxygen demand, a major index of water pollution, grew by 3.7 per cent, compared to the same period in 2005."

So, emissions definitely seem to be a growing problem in China, just as they are in the States and the rest of the world. How bad will they get? At least the Chinese auto industry gets to start at a point when emissions are understood, and there is technology available today that can help. Let's hope it starts helping sooner rather than later.

[Source: The Toronto Star via]

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