Car Craze, July 2006: In the past decade, car ownership in China has quadrupled. But what are the environmental and economic implications of the growth of China’s motor industry?

In China, more than anywhere else, cars are synonymous with status. “In the past, I felt jealous of other people driving cars. Now I feel they envy me”, states first time owner Wei Li. Gone are the rivers of bicycles, replaced by gridlocked roads. But cars are already having a serious impact on the country’s environment. China has 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities and much of this smog is caused by drivers. And China’s roads are amongst the most deadly in the world. “According to Chinese culture, you can mortally offend someone’s pride if you put on a seatbelt whilst they’re driving”, explains AA spokesman Jason Li. Students train on purpose built roads and only experience real driving conditions after they pass their test. Others are concerned about the foreign policy implications of China’s thirst for fuel. The country already struggles to meet its energy needs. By 2020, it’s thought China will consume 9 million oil barrels a day, pushing up oil prices even further. But new car owners refuse to be put off. As Jason Li explains: “Cars are a symbol of having made it and being able to enjoy that freedom.”

Produced by ABC Australia Ref – 3146
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12 thoughts on “What Does The Chinese Car Boom Mean For The Rest Of The World?”

  1. 15:30, the Chinese people will get into its path eventually. Automobile everywhere, anytime, all the time, is simply not sustainable. The trojectory will taper off.

  2. 14:45, you figure why Chinese love cars. They should. After years of oppression and censorship. Car represent freedom. My next bet is the recreational vehicles/camping vehicles in China.

  3. "within two decades China is set to produce more cars than anywhere else in the world" – They achieved that this year lol… with 12 million cars produced. Another funny thing is that, while GM's US business is losing money, GM's China outlets are selling more cars than ever. Chinese consumers love American auto's more than the American's themselves.

  4. Years ago, the West laught at China because they are poor and riding bike. Now they have cars, lot of cars. Years ago, the West laught at China's lack of Super athlets. Now China has alot of them. They got lot of gold medals in 2008 Olympics. The West used to think China is poor. China is going to own the world's bank soon. Now, it is time the West needs to send green tech to China to produce green cars before this globe is filled of bad air. What do you thik?

  5. Gee, I wonder why gasoline is now $3.20 per gallon in the U.S….hmmm….and why the U.S. would ever want to invade and take occupy oil-rich Iraq….hmmmm….

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