The United States is often criticized for the pollution landscape, especially air pollution. This heavily industrialized nation is undeniably a major contributor to chemical-filled air, and cars make up a prominent factor. The US state has over 250 million passenger vehicles on the highway; which is more than China, with a much larger population. In this selection are the 10 countries with the highest index of cars per inhabitant in the world. For example, according to data compiled by the World Bank, Germany and the United Kingdom have more passenger cars on the roads per 1,000 people than the United States, with 531 and 454 vehicles, respectively. For the purpose of this selection specifically, passenger cars refer to vehicles designed to carry no more than 9 people, and do not include two-wheeled vehicles, so no motorcycles are counted. Source: shoe-wiki.com
10. LITHUANIA – 565 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
Lithuania is a small country of less than 3 million people in northern Europe. And dotted with modern 4-lane highways, the country has up-to-date transportation infrastructure that residents find great. Although the country has 4 international airports, when Lithuania’s total area is only 25,000 square kilometers, it makes more sense to drive between most locations than to rely on air travel.
9. MALTA – 595 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
Malta is a small set of 7 islands that reside in the Mediterranean Sea. And like many in this selection, Malta is a very small nation, so reliance on long-distance domestic transport methods such as airplanes, trains, and buses is not as heavy as in larger nations, such as the United States. But with 595 passenger cars per 1,000 inhabitants and only 121 square kilometers to park, there must be some serious parking lot disputes on the main shopping streets of Valletta and Gozo.
8. NEW ZEALAND – 597 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
Both New Zealand and Australia, which features 559 passenger cars per 1000 people, have high levels of car ownership. New Zealand is constantly regarded as one of the most beautiful nations on the planet. And being with such easy access to some great views of nature means that people enjoy road trips.
7. ITALY – 605 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
And considering that the country is home to names like Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini, then owning one of these exclusive brands is a must for the wealthiest among the Italian population. Italy is also home to the solid Fiat Group, which made 83 billion euros in revenue for 2012, selling passenger cars at home and abroad.
6. PUERTO RICO – 629 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
Even if this figure actually comes from World Bank data published in 2010, it is unlikely to have changed dramatically. The government of Puerto Rico has been trying to improve public transport methods, focusing on combating the number of vehicles that are cluttering the small island’s extensive road network. There is the reasonably new fast train system, Urban Train, regular ferry services, and hundreds of buses, but Puerto Ricans still enjoy traveling in their cars.
5. ICELAND – 646 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
Iceland has an area of 39,770 square kilometers, with the majority of the population living in an even smaller area, just 410 square kilometers, known as the West Coast Capital Region. And without public rail, driving is the way to go, and The Ring Road of Iceland highways, Route 1, have become popular with drivers who like a challenge. It is possible to travel around the Arctic nation via this 828 mile long highway.
4. LUXEMBOURG – 667 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
The tiny and wealthy nations dominate this selection, and Luxembourg is no exception. Jammed between Germany, France and Belgium, this tiny nation only controls 998.6 square kilometers of land, smaller than Rhode Island, and has a population of just over half a million. But that half a million is categorized particularly well, with a per capita GDP of $ 107,206, so there are several luxury road and highway vehicles in Luxembourg.
3. MONACO – 729 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
The population of the Principality of Monaco, limited by southern France, loves cars and steering, so much so that it is featured in the famous Monaco Grand Prix race each year; Monaco being third in the selection of the 10 countries with the highest car index per inhabitant in the world.
2. LIECHTENSTEIN – 744 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
Liechtenstein actually outperformed the latest 2011 World Bank data for this category, but the state’s 2010 figure in the first place was so high that it is unlikely to have fallen below the reported 744 car per 1000 population for Liechtenstein. In all, 37,000 people live in the 61 square kilometers of the territory, and although there are train stations, bus stations, heliports and airports, the population prefers to drive.
1. SAN MARINO – 1,139 PASSENGER CARS PER 1000 PEOPLE
This is from 2010, but is unlikely to have fallen much since. This landlocked country is completely surrounded by northern Italy and has a total population of 32,576 inhabitants. However, with the San Marino Supervia only 5.5 miles long, one has to wonder if drivers repeatedly go up and down for a Sunday ride. It is important to note, of course, that very small populations may distort per capita reporting, particularly given the small sample size.