Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics (MS)

College, School or Department Name

School of Business and Economics


Mark C Roberts


A great increase of private car ownership took place in China from 1980 to 2009 with the development of the economy. To explain the relationship between car ownership and economic and social changes, an ordinary least squares linear regression model is developed using car ownership per capita as the dependent variable with GDP, savings deposits and highway mileages per capita as the independent variables. The model is tested and corrected for econometric problems such as spurious correlation and cointegration. Finally, the regression model is used to project oil consumption by the Chinese transportation sector through 2015. The result shows that about 2.0 million barrels of oil will be consumed by private cars in conservative scenario, and about 2.6 million barrels of oil per day in high case scenario in 2015. Both of them are much higher than the consumption level of 2009, which is 1.9 million barrels per day. It also shows that the annual growth rate of oil demand by transportation is 2.7% - 3.1% per year in the conservative scenario, and 6.9% - 7.3% per year in the high case forecast scenario from 2010 to 2015. As a result, actions like increasing oil efficiency need to be taken to deal with challenges of the increasing demand for oil.