Source: US Department of Energy, Transportation Energy Data Book.
The last decades have experienced a growing level of motorization, as reflected by the production of automobiles and the fleet of registered cars. Although car production has a behavior linked with economic cycles of growth and recession, there is a continuous growth of the fleet with an annual car production of about 34-40 million vehicles in the 1990s, well above 40 million in the 2000s and surpassing 60 million in the 2010s.
There were over 950 million registered automobiles in circulation in 2015, an increase of more than 550 million vehicles since 1990. This takes into consideration cars that are put out of circulation each year to be scrapped and recycled. Globally, there are on average 12 people for every car in circulation. A significant share of the growth of car production is attributed to the motorization of developing countries, especially in East and Southeast Asia. In 2003, more than 2 million cars were sold in China alone and this figure exploded to more than 9 million in 2008 and 22 million in 2013. Comparatively, car sales in the United States, which used to be the world’s largest market, have stabilized to about 18 million per year.