Between 1950 and 2008 more cars were added to our roads virtually every year as the total fleet expanded steadily from 49 million to 250 million vehicles. In 2009, however, 14 million cars were scrapped while only 10 million cars were sold, shrinking the fleet by 4 million vehicles, or nearly 2 percent. With record numbers of cars set to reach retirement age between now and 2020, the fleet could shrink by some 10 percent, dropping from the all-time high of 250 million in 2008 to 225 million in 2020.
The United States, with 246 million motor vehicles and 209 million licensed drivers, is facing market saturation. With 5 vehicles for every 4 drivers, the 4-million-vehicle contraction in the U.S. fleet in 2009 does not come as a great surprise. In a largely rural society, more cars provided mobility, but in a society that is now over 80 percent urban, more cars provide immobility.
Felix Kramer of Calcars thinks 2010 will be the year of the plug-in car. He’s got a good case: After years of advocacy and technology development, 2010 is the year that major manufacturers will finally make plug-ins broadly available, and rapidly decreasing battery costs are helping the conversion industry reach new customers and help retrofit the existing fleet at scale. After years of work and promise, 2010 is the payoff year.
I see a similar trend in solar in California, where years of policy and business development are all coming together to make 2010 an extraordinary year for solar development.
There are four major market drivers:
I like to ride my bike and take public transportation when I can. But I still rely on the car to move me around a few days every week. That said, developments in cars and personal transportation are things I take both personal and professional interest in.
So after Ford loaned a new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid to me and Gas 2.0 editor Nick Chambers for an extended test drive – that we would take on a trip to and from a multi-day music festival in Southern California we were both covering — I decided to share my thoughts about why Ford’s first foray into the hybrid sedan market is making a big splash: Partly because of good business timing; but also because they built a great car.
In an effort to reduce automobile usage and greenhouse gas emissions, the Dutch cabinet has approved a driving tax that would charge motorists seven cents a mile.
The plan, which must still be approved by parliament, would use GPS systems installed in each car to keep track of mileage and automatically bill drivers. The mileage charges would be higher at rush hour, for large cars, and for commercial vehicles.
Dutch officials said the driving tax, which would replace existing road taxes and duties on new car purchases, is designed to cut traffic by 15 percent and reduce emissions from transport by 10 percent.
This post is dedicated to my hometown, Hazleton Pennsylvania
This corridor hits close to home for your humble correspondent as I, Alexander John Lennartz, am a born and raised Pennsylvanian…who did not step foot on a passenger train in the state until age 25 when I moved to the greater Philadelphia area.
In my part of the country there is no passenger rail. A fact of life for the good people of Northeast Pennsylvania is that you cannot live without a car. This was, is and for the foreseeable future will be to only mean of transportation over mid to long distances. Pennsylvania’s proud locomotive heritage has fallen to the point that many in the state regard trains in the historical sense, no longer are a form of modern transportation. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Lancaster Country is a testament to when rails crisscrossed the Keystone State and help build and power America, moving goods and people quickly and efficiently.
As a former resident of Florida (1999-2002…Go Seminoles) your author can assure you, the state is in need of high speed rail. The vast state makes travel times by car irritatingly long. The most extreme example is the drive from Pensacola to Key West. Distance of that journey is 828 miles, clocking in at over 13 hours. From anywhere in the panhandle to south Florida is an all day affair behind the wheel.
Drivers along the highways (especially 10) are under the close eye of the Highway Patrol and must keep the pace under 75 miles per hour for hours and hours and hours. Out of all the HSR corridors, Florida should have the most urgent need for speed. A 220 mph train would be the optimal mode of transit from Tallahassee all the way down to Miami. The length of that journey (480 miles) gives passenger rail a time advantage over cars and planes. Any trip less than 500 miles gives trains the upper hand concerning travel times.