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It’s starting to feel as commonplace as hand-washing: To protect against COVID-19, people across the globe are skipping trains and buses. Instead, they’re part of the great car comeback that’s sending vehicle sales soaring and fueling a demand surge for oil and metals.

Julie Murataj is a reluctant part of the shift. Two of her three kids are now getting dropped off at school instead of taking public transit. Then she drives her Volvo SUV to work, where she helps London schoolchildren cross the road by halting traffic with a bright, red and yellow stop sign that Brits call a “lollipop.” It’s a front-row seat to the world’s changing travel habits.

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