Americans have a well-documented love affair with the automobile so it may come as something of a shock to learn Western Europeans have more cars per person than their American cousins. What’s more Europeans actually consume less fuel than those in the home of the brave.
The worldwide study on car usage by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace found American per capita car ownership currently sits at 439 passenger vehicles for every thousand Americans — a lower rate than can be found in Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Japan. Italy came out highest of the European countries, boasting just under 600 vehicles per thousand citizens.
The principality of Monaco, which isn’t a part of the European Union, managed to top all countries on the list. The Casino-laden retreat for the rich and famous has an astonishing 771 cars per thousand citizens — most of which are probably supercars.
Despite the US having fewer cars per capita, its oil use per capita is almost double that of Western European countries. Indeed, despite having less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, it still manages to account for roughly a quarter of worldwide oil use – likely because of all of those incredibly inefficient V8s and massive pick-ups chugging around the home of the brave.
In America’s defence, the average commute is much longer than it is in the UK. It could also be argued that the public transportation network in many American cities isn’t as well developed as those in Europe, so while Europeans might have more cars, they may well use them less often.
Obviously the survey raises many questions, more than can be answered in the scope of this article, but to read it in more depth head over to The Atlantic to take a closer look at the fitgures.