The End of More Than Just a Decade
For the automotive industry, 2009 was the end of a century's worth of growth
Let that sink in for a moment: a century of growth. One hundred years.
The reasons cited shouldn't really be surprising. Economic turmoil, increased urbanization, and uncertainty about future gas prices all played a role, according to the EPI. One figure, though, I did find shocking: the ratio of 246 million registered motor vehicles to the 209 licensed drivers. That's nearly five cars for every four drivers, and a serious case of market saturation.
It's the type of market situation that can't be sustained, according to EPI President Lester Brown, who says the decline will continue for another decade, until 2020. The results of the decline, according to the EPI's press release, would (obviously) be reduced oil consumption and carbon emissions. In addition, though, the EPI predicts the reduced demand for autos will also cut short highway projects and increase the development of public transit infrastructure.
After 100 years of growth, that really would be a change.
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