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There are now over one billion automobiles on the road worldwide. An explosion in the auto markets in China and India ensures that number will increase, with China supplanting the United States as the world's largest car market. It's fair to say humanity has a love affair with the car, but it's a love-hate relationship. Cars are at once convenience, art, and menace. People write songs about their vehicles, put them in museums, race them, and wrap their identities up in them. About 15% of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels comes from cars. Traffic fatality estimates vary from half a million per year to more than double that. Gathered here are images of the automobile in many forms, and our relationship to and dependence on our cars. This is the second in an occasional Big Picture series on transportation, following 
Pedal power earlier this year. -- Lane Turner

Antti Rahko stands next to his self-made "Finnjet" during preparations for the Essen Motor Show in Essen, Germany on November 22, 2012. The car rolls on eight wheels, offers ten seats, weighs 3.4 tons and is worth about one million US dollars. (Marius Becker/AFP/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart flips in the air after an incident with the field in the final lap of a NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway on October 7, 2012 in Talladega, Ala. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR) #
People descend a hill in homemade cars during the XXIII Car Festival in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia, on October 7, 2012. (Raul ArboledaAFP/GettyImages) #
Audience members queue to ride bumper cars before the Future Cinema outdoor screening of the 1978 film "Grease" in Barnes, southwest London September 7, 2012. London-based Future Cinema, which specialises in immersive events fusing film, theatre, music and dance, transformed Barnes Common park into the movie's fictional setting of Rydell High School. Over 9,000 participants, donning 1950s attire, were expected at three showings over the weekend. (Chris Helgren/Reuters) #
The ornate horn on a 1911 Stanley Steamer glints in the sun at the annual Rockville, Md. Antique and Classic Car show on October 20, 2012. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)#
Cars drive down a street in Havana on June 1, 2012. (Ty Wright/Bloomberg) #
 policeman directs traffic in downtown Shanghai on December 5, 2012. While the opportunities are vast in China's estimated $50 billion auto insurance industry, there are roadblocks aplenty - from poor driving standards to a new generation of car owners unfamiliar with the concept of buying protection against accidents and repairs. In 2010, China reported 3.9 million road accidents that killed 65,225 people and injured 254,075. There were 30,797 fatal crashes in the United States in 2009, which had almost 2.5 times as many registered vehicles as China. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (right) and Defence Minister Kim Kwan-jin review troops during a ceremony to mark the 64th Korea Armed Forces Day at the military headquarters in Gyeryong, on September 26, 2012. (/Jung Yeon-je/Reuters) #
Robotic arms work on vehicles as they move along the production line at the Ford India Pvt. Maraimalai Nagar factory in Chengalpattu, India on April 17, 2012. (Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg) #
A ship transporting cars sails along the river Elbe beside a shipping terminal in the harbor of Bremerhaven, Germany on October 8, 2012. Vehicles from Europe are exported through Bremerhaven, which is one of the biggest automobile ports in the world. (Fabian Bimmer/Reuters) #
Cars race through a steep turn during a race demonstration at the Offene Rennbahn cycling track in Zurich's Oerlikon suburb on July 24, 2012. (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters) #
Youths compete with remote controlled toy cars around a track with models of iconic architecture in Singapore on September 23, 2012. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press) #
Abdul Samad, 13, carries a part of a used car engine inside an automobile workshop in Mumbai on July 10, 2012. (Danish Siddiqui/Reuters) #
A carpenter presents his self-made wooden electric car at the 2012 China-Eurasia Expo in Urumqi, in China's Xinjiang autonomous region on September 5, 2012. The maker spent half a year and some 50,000 yuan ($7,880) completing it. The electric vehicle is able to travel 100 km to 130 km on a single charge and has a top speed of 50 km/h. (China Daily/Reuters) #

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