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Greening China’s pumps as cars expected to double in number

Can efficient vehicles and a push for alternative fuels take the edge off the country’s thirst for oil?

China now has 100 million cars. It is not a huge number compared with the country’s population of 1.3 billion people. But as average incomes rise, so do aspirations. Many more Chinese want the freedom and status offered by their own vehicle. Conservative estimates suggest the number of cars in China will double by 2020. To put this in perspective, consider that while China had about 34 vehicles per 1,000 people in 2009, North America had 550. In Europe, another saturated market, the number is 438. Most forecasters, including the International Energy Agency (IEA), see ownership rates in China rising fivefold by 2035, leaving it far below the saturation level of almost every nation in the deve

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