My Dilemma - Oct 2007

  • Asian economies are booming, clocking 8% growth on GDP on average in the last decade
  • Per capita income is rising and demand for cars is growing too, upto 20% per year. India, China together stand at 2.4 billion people hence this demand is huge.
  • Today the American and European vehicle ownership stands at 600-750 vehicles per 1000 persons, and the current global vehicle fleet stands at 775 million.
  • Global warming and sustainability: 25% contribution to global warming and pollution is from transportation and transportation industry.
  • Transportation industry also a major consumer of petroleum and petroleum products like plastics, rubber, asphalt etc and of iron, steel, aluminium too.
  • Oil peak: Today we know that world oil production will peak in between 2007-2008 and the decline after is inevitable. Infact oil production will be 90% less by 2019. This means we will have lesser and lesser of not only petroleum to drive our vehicles but less material to build them too.
  • What happens to the world if India and China, because of growth, reach the level of American and European vehicle ownership, this means adding 1.5 billion new vehicles i.e. a 200% increase in global vehicle fleet.
  • With the constraints presented above this seem physically impossible. This planet simply doesn't have enough resources to create such a future with current model of transportation.
  • But the need for transportation in these countries is very real and the future of millions depend on it.
  • Public transportation might provide part of the solution but reduces personal freedom constrains free will and ignore social value of cars.
How to create a more sustainable transportation system for the new Asian economies, without compromising personal freedom?