For the first time since World War Two, Italians purchased more bicycles than automobiles. “During 2011, 1,750,000 bicycles were sold in Italy, a 10 percent increase from 2010. Meanwhile,1,748,143 million new cars were registered, down 20 percent from the previous year, the lowest level since 1964.”

Car crazed Italy, birthplace of Ferrari, Fiat, Maserati, etc,  has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world. There are aprx 60 cars for every 100 people, but average gas prices in the country have recently spiked to the highest level in Europe. At two euros a liter (or $9.50 USD a gallon), the average cost of keeping a car on the road has soared to seven thousand euro ($9,000 USD).

Experts postulate that the high gas prices, austerity cuts, and weak economy have all contributed to the shift. Many families are trimming costs by turning to cycling for shorter trips. Of Italy’s population of 60 million people, some 6.5 million commute regularly via bicycle.

With gas prices hitting $5 in California, how soon before some Americans are forced to follow suit?

Via  The Global Post


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