China Personal Vehicles Now More than US

China Web quotes the nation's Ministry of Public Security to the effect that China's personal vehicle fleet (automobiles and motorcycles) reached 217 million at the end of June. This would place China ahead of the United States, which had approximately 200 million personal vehicles in 2010 and led the world for perhaps for most, if not all of the last century.

China has 114 million automobiles and 103 million motorcycles, a substantially different mix than in the more affluent United States. The US has 192 million automobiles and 8 million motorcycles.

Motorcycles are particularly useful in China's growing and congested cities and are the logical stepping stone for buyers who are likely to eventually own cars. Many of the motorcycles are "E-Bikes," which use a plug-in battery operated technology. These motorcycles are so fuel efficient that their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per passenger kilometer approximate those of a full bus.

In 2011, China also took the lead in freeway mileage, displacing the US. The United States, with its interstate highway system had led the world in freeway mileage for at least one-half century.