Statistics relating to cars and their usage have been assembled for 19 countries for the years 1958 to 1980. These are then analysed in relation to population, national income, petrol prices and other relevant factors. Aspects considered are car ownership rates per person, numbers of new cars, the average life of cars, their average engine capacity, the average kilometres driven per year and the tonnes of petrol consumed per year. Despite problems with the availability, compatibility and reliability of the data, a number of consistent patterns emerge. Among the clearest and strongest are those of income levels on the numbers of cars, and of petrol prices on the sizes of cars and hence how much petrol they use. Changes in kilometres per car appear to be related in the short term to changes in petrol prices and in the longer term to the rate of growth of car ownership. (A)

Want to know more about this project?