Where would we be without the automobile? Cars come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve a clear purpose – to get us from point A to point B. That being said, there’s nothing quite like taking a nice drive out and to enjoy the fresh air. It’s really surprising just how far we have come in such quick time since using horse-drawn carts! Take a look below for 30 interesting and captivating facts about cars.
1. The car’s humble origins date back to 1885. Carl Benz created a vehicle with a four-stroke engine and impressively large wheels. Thankfully, they’ve sped up and have gotten a bit sleeker in the design department since then!
2. Each year, it’s thought that up to 60 million cars roll off the production line. If you’re looking at the minutes, that’s around 115 new cars every 60 seconds!
3. The price of petrol in the USA has increased massively since the 1960s. This is because people are consuming up to 39 million gallons more each year – solely thanks to citizens generally weighing up to two stones heavier than they did 60 years ago!
4. China has a huge hand in the UK car populous. In fact, around 25% of the vehicles you’ll see on British roads originated there.
5. Long distance journeys by car were novel around 1888, when Carl Benz’s wife Bertha took a trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany. Up to then, prototype vehicles only ever made short journeys and trips.
6. It’s thought that commuters in Washington DC spend around 82 hours each year just sitting in traffic. So much for carpe diem!
7. You’ll find that cars can drive on either side of the road all over the world. However, the majority of countries demand you drive on the right. That accounts for 65% of nations, in fact.
8. Volkswagen is likely to be one of the most prolific car makers on the planet. They own brands as diverse as Skoda, Audi, Lamborghini, Ducati, SEAT, Bentley, Porsche and many, many more.
9. Car tyres are wasted year after year. In fact, drivers are thought to be getting rid of an average of 250 million of them every 12 months. The stereotypical images of scrapyards and junkyards being full of rubber tyres is not an assumption.
10. Car speeds have, of course, been getting faster and faster. Consider the first cars, therefore, which were unlikely to break 40 mph at all at top speed!
11. As you can imagine, your car is likely to spend most of its life parked. In fact, it’s only likely to be in action for 5% of the time it’s considered road legal. That can’t be bad for the mileage, surely!
12. Ever tried to replace a car engine in less than a minute? We wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s certainly possible. There’s still a record in place from 1985 where mechanics were able to swap out a Ford Escort engine in 42 seconds. Even with all of today’s technology, the fact that record stands unbeaten is nothing short of astounding.
13. It’s not too shocking a fact that Los Angeles has more cars than it does people. That’s why there continues to be such a push to get as many people to carpool or take public transit as possible. The fewer cars there are on the road, the less pollution there will be. Simple!
14. Speeding tickets have origins as far back as 1902.
15. There’s said to be around a billion cars driving around the planet right now.
16. The world is edging closer and closer to driverless car technology. Google, for example, already has its own fleet of automated vehicles driving in and around Palo Alto, California, where the brand is based.
17. In fact, Nevada is leading the way in terms of preparing for driverless vehicles sweeping the world. The US state was the first, back in 2012, to offer licences for such vehicles, meaning that they can legally drive on roads there – despite the technology still having a way to go to iron out a few rough points.
18. 4x4s date back to the 1940s. That’s when the first Jeeps were produced and made available for the US military. Jeeps still roll off the production line to this day.
19. The majority of cars produced in the world come from three countries – China, of course, the US and Japan. It took Japan considerable years to emerge as a world-leader, only really breaking out by the turn of the 1980s.
20. Cars are lasting longer and longer – thankfully – but how about 82 years on the road? A driver from Massachusetts famously ran his Rolls Royce Roadster for up to eight decades. That’s careful ownership, and more than a few lucky MOTs!
21. Driving in Denmark can be extremely costly. That’s because the country imposes a huge 150% road tax on all cars bought in the country. While this might reduce the number of cars you see on Danish roads, there is talk of this figure seeking reduction in the years to come.
22. The country with the most cars per thousand people is San Marino. There are thought to be 1,263 cars per 1,000 people, largely thanks to how small the country is. However, the US is third on this list.
23. Believe it or not, that famous ‘new car smell’ might actually be toxic. It’s thought to be made up of up to 50 different compounds which are all fairly aggressive. Take care the next time you choose to take in a waft!
24. German engineers have been able to create a system whereby you can control a car through thoughts alone. Is this likely to catch on alongside driverless car technology? Better not let your mind wander!
25. Ferrari is extraordinarily slow-paced when it comes to car production. Regardless of the global average, only around 14 new vehicles leave their production line each day. As any Ferrari mechanic or engineer will tell you, you can’t rush precision.
26. The most popular car of the 20th century was – believe it or not – the VW Beetle. This iconic bug car was thought to have sold more than 20 million times across the globe.
27. The world is attempting to go greener in terms of emissions and car technology. In Norway, for example, it’s a 50-50 chance you’ll buy a car that’s either a hybrid system, or fully electric. Only 50% of new cars rolling off the lines there use traditional fuel.
28. Up to 16% of car owners never wash their own cars. Are you in that statistics? It might be time to get the dust and bird muck off!
29. Car crashes claim hundreds of thousands of lives. In fact, around 2.2% of global deaths each year emanate from car collisions and accidents.
30. If you buy a BMW in South Africa, you’ll find an unusual accessory. To help fight carjacking, drivers are supplied with their own personal in-vehicle flamethrowers!