“The All-American boy outgrows pants, pimples and eating onions, but he never gets over the automobile.” – The Great Love Affair Documentary, 1966
By 1966, Americans had a thing with cars. Even though they were considered unsafe, expensive, and bad for the environment, this love surpassed any seeming disadvantages.
Fast forward to our day, and the love affair is stronger than ever. Just how many cars are registered in the U.S today? How many vehicles does the average American family own? And what modern trends affect car ownership? Let’s investigate – But first, some interesting car statistics.
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Car Statistics – Editor’s Choice
- There are about 1.4 billion cars on earth. That’s right, and almost a quarter of the world’s cars can be found in the US alone.
- In 1913, The Ford Motor Company started by Henry Ford was the first to use a moving assembly line in the production of new cars. This innovation allowed them to cut manufacturing time from over 12 hours to about 1 hour 33 minutes.
- Electric cars are not a modern-day invention. In fact, in 1900, 385 cars were powered by electricity. By the end of 2020, just over 1.4 million electric cars have been sold in the US, with Tesla dominating the market.
- Ford is the highest- selling car brand in the U.S, having sold 1.9 million units in 2020 alone. The F-Series Pick-up has been the best selling model, dominating the new trucks sales for an impressive 39 consecutive years. So popular is the F series truck that in the three years between 2017-2019 Ford managed to sell on on average 1.7 trucks per minute every hour every day the whole year.
Statistical Data of Registered Cars in the US
|Registered Vehicles in The Us by Year||Vehicle Registration Statistics|
|Registered vehicles in US 2022 (proj.)||290.8 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2021 (est.)||289.5 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2020||286.9 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2019||284.5 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2018||279.1 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2017||270.4 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2016||264.0 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2015||257.9 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2014||252.6 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2013||248.9 million|
|Registered vehicles in US 2012||248.7 million|
Data source: US VIO Vehicle Registration Statistics: See How Many Cars in The US (hedgescompany.com)
In 2020, there were 286.9 million vehicles registered on American roads. That number is expected to increase to 290.8 million in 2022.
In that same year, the USA recorded the lowest number of new vehicle sales since 2012, only 14.5 million amid the Covid 19 outbreak. New car sales rose for the first time in March 2021, despite many showrooms remaining shut. This number is predicted to rise to 16.5 million in 2022.
According to the US Department of Transportation, the state with the highest number of registered vehicles in California. It saw over 30 million trucks and automobile registrations in 2020, with a population of approximately 40 million.
They were followed by Texas, Florida, and New York, with about 23, 18, and 11 million respectively. (financesonline.com)
|Car Sales Stats by Year||New Vehicles Sold|
|New vehicles in US 2022 (proj.)||16.5 million|
|New vehicles in US 2021 (est.)||15.5 million|
|New vehicles in US 2020||14.5 million|
|New vehicles in US 2019||17.1 million|
|New vehicles in US 2018||17.1 million|
|New vehicles in US 2017||17.2 million|
|New vehicles in US 2016||17.4 million|
|New vehicles in US 2015||17.2 million|
|New vehicles in US 2014||16.4 million|
|New vehicles in US 2013||15.5 million|
|New vehicles in US 2012||14.4 million|
Data source: US VIO Vehicle Registration Statistics: See How Many Cars in The US (hedgescompany.com)
US Owners Demographic
In 2021, drivers between the ages of 60-64 owned the most cars in the US. 53 years old is the average age of a new car or truck buyer, which means that half of all car owners are 60 years and older.
Millennials between the average age of 18-24 have the lowest market share of only 0.02% vehicle ownership. This is due to the high upfront and running cost of a new car.
The Annual True Cost of Ownership survey stated that the average cost of owning a new car is $9,666 per year. This includes car payments, interest, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and registration fees.
33.7% of all new car buyers fall into the $50,000 – $74,999 income bracket, with 21.48% of buyers earning $75,000 – $99,999. The smallest percentage of car owners earn between $20,000 – $ 29,999. The high running costs make owning a car unaffordable for low-income earners.
The average income of a new car buyer in the US is $80,000, while the average income of those who choose to buy used vehicles is $48,000 a year.
In 2019, more men-owned a car in the US than women, even though more women had a valid Driver’s license. This trend has changed slightly in 2020, with women owning 35.4% of motor vehicles.
86% of truck buyers are male, while the percentage of SUV buyers is spread more evenly, with 57% being male and 43% female.
The National Equity Atlas stated that in 2019, 18% of those who identified themselves as Black did not have access to a vehicle. Followed by People of Color at 14% and Native Americans at 13%.
In comparison, only 6% of white households lacked access to a car. This group makes up over four-fifths of car buyers, including both new and used vehicles.
How did Cars Become Common In America?
Long before the arrival of diesel-guzzling vehicles or carbon-neutral all-electric vehicles, there were only two options when commuting – a horse and carriage or rail transportation.
During the 18th and 19th century the everyday American depended quite heavily on a horse and cart to get from A to B.
However, as the economy began to boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the need for reliable, fast transportation increased. Cities grew larger by the month and suburbs sprouted from nowhere. People soon realized that personal vehicle access would change their lives.
However, owning an automobile at the dawn of the 19th century was thought so far from reality that many Americans never considered the possibility. And even if you were able to get your hands on one of the just 8000 cars in America at the time, the infrastructure didn’t allow you to use it to its full potential.
Around this time, Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford motor company, coined the term ‘assembly line’ which revolutionized the transport industry. By applying the fundamentals of a fast-paced, high production system, Ford made the automobile available to the average household.
The government took note. More emphasis was given to the development and upkeep of national road systems and new routes to and from suburban areas were developed.
Thus the balance shifted in favor of the automobile and Americans were lining up, not in their thousands, but in their millions to own their very own Model T. Ford produced roughly 14 million of these cars between 1913 and 1927. [Source: Hofstra University]
The popularity of the private motor vehicle went from strength to strength. Fast forward to 1956 and President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act and created more than 42,500 miles of highway across the country.
By this time, cars weren’t seen just as mechanical pieces of hardware, but as beloved members of the family. It was liberating to have the ability to choose for oneself when and where to travel. When you drove the latest model, your status and appeal increased.
One car that dominated the new car sales market in that era was the Chevrolet Impala. Americans fell in love with the triple taillights and the extra-long wheelbase that it offered. During the 1960s the Impala outsold all of its competitors. In 1965 and 1966, well over a million units were sold.
Although it can be argued that few if any, car models since then have been able to capture the imagination quite like the Impala of the 1960s, owning your very own vehicle has become an essential part of every American household.
How Many Car Brands Are There In The US?
There are over 30 vehicle brands in the US alone, with Ford, Toyota, and Chevrolet dominating the market. In 2020, Ford sold a whopping 1.9 million cars, with Toyota and Chevrolet reaching about 1.8 and 1.7 sales, respectively. (statistica.com)
Although there are over 10 automobile manufacturers in America, the three who monopolize the market are General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. Competitors of the Big 3 include Honda, Toyota, and Nissan, as these companies are known for producing reliable, fuel-efficient cars.
How Many Vehicles Are In The US?
Hedges Company reports a total of 286.9 million registered cars in the US as of 2020. From the second half of 2020 to the second half of 2021, 14.5 million registrations were new vehicles, while almost 43.8 million used vehicles changed owners during that time.
How Many Cars Are You Allowed To Own?
Simply put: As many as you like. There is no limit to the number of cars that you are allowed to own in your personal capacity. As long as you have a space to store them, whether it be in a warehouse, a garage, or your backyard, the choice is yours.
How Many Cars Does The Average American Family Own?
On average, Americans own 1.88 vehicles per household, with 88% of households having at least one vehicle at their disposal.
How Many Americans Own Electric Vehicles?
In 2019, there were approximately 1.3 million electric cars on American highways. The popularity of these cars is set to increase and it is estimated that by 2030, there will be over 4 million electric cars in the state of California alone.
Also in 2019, China reported the highest number of sales at 645,000 units. They are followed by Europe with 261 000 units, and then the USA selling 149,000 electric cars.
The most popular electric car brand in the US by far is the Tesla Model 3, with sales numbering 167.500 units in 2020.
How Many Americans Own A Smart Car?
By Smart car, we are not speaking of the Damlier owned tiny car brand that had a relative measure of success in the US during the early 2000s. Daimler shut operations of their Smart car division in the states in 2019.
Smart cars refer to vehicles with superior onboard technology. Features such as navigation, traffic sensing systems, night vision (with the ability to identify objects beyond the capabilities of the human eye), and voice control often come standard in these cars.
Of all its features, most noteworthy is the fact that many smart cars today have the ability to be semi or fully autonomous. As the term suggests, an autonomous vehicle can drive itself either completely or in part.
Although there are currently no publicly owned smart vehicles in the US, data suggests that many Americans are starting to warm up to the idea of having artificial intelligence (AI) being in control of their morning commute.
Forty percent of Americans have shown interest in purchasing a smart car in the future, once they pass safety standards and become readily available.
Fascinating Statistical Motor Vehicles Usage Data: US
- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration revealed that the average American drives around 13,500 miles every year. This is further than any other country on earth, averaging 1,000 miles per month!
- The modern-day three-point seat belt was invented by a Swedish Volvo engineer named Nils Bohlin. In the interest of public safety, Volvo unselfishly decided to leave the patented design open to all. Thanks to this, almost 15,000 American lives are saved each year by wearing seatbelts.
- The Guinness World Record holder of the highest mileage clocked on a personal car is the 1966 Volvo 1800S. The owner of the vehicle is Irvin Gordon, a retired Science teacher who lives in Long Island, New York. In 2013, his car reached a staggering 3,000,000 miles! That would be enough to take you around the earth 100 times.
- What is the fastest street-legal car in the US? As of September 2020, Shelby Supercars (SSC) North America hit a new top speed record of 331 mph with their Tuatara production car.
- According to NY Times, “vehicles assembled in the U.S. are made with about 40% to 50% of imported parts. Under the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 75% or more of the components of American cars must be manufactured in the United States, Canada, or Mexico.
- In 2021, Americans will pay an average of $38,000 for a brand new automobile. If you were to drive that vehicle the expected 13,500 miles a year, it would set you back $797 a month. The American Automobile Association (AAA) states this would include depreciation, loan interest, fuel, insurance, maintenance, and fees.
Are There Too Many Cars in the US?
Currently, 90% of American households own at least one car. 23% percent of households in America own three or more vehicles.
One of the major disadvantages of this is traffic congestion. In 2020, car ownership statistics like the Urban Mobility Report showed that people living in New York City as a whole spent 494 268 hours stuck in traffic, while drivers in L.A. averaged 365,500 hours.
A year earlier, those same commuters spent 952,183 hours in traffic collectively. The decrease in hours is no doubt due to residents working from home during the Covid 19 pandemic, but with more employees returning to the office, the number of hours is set to increase once again.
What effect do cars have on our environment? According to EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency, ‘A typical passenger vehicle(light vehicles) emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This number can vary based on a vehicle’s fuel, fuel economy, and the number of miles driven per year.’
It also stated that Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation make up 29% of total GHG emissions, the largest contributor in the US.
Trends That Affects Car Ownership
Ride-sharing ( passenger cars ) is a car service that matches passengers with drivers, usually through a website or App. It could also be a personal arrangement with other commuters to share a private motor vehicle, thereby splitting the costs.
Despite a decrease in popularity as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Ride-sharing market is expected to grow rapidly and be worth $220 billion by 2025, an increase of nearly 400%.
According to The Verge, Uber and Lyft are responsible for 14% of Vehicle Miles Traveled in some US States. More and more Americans prefer this option over owning a car, given the rise of global pollution, increasing costs of running and maintaining a car, and overcrowded transportation systems.
Auto Insurance Industry
According to research done by CompareCamp, “with a reported potential loss of up to $80 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic, insurers and insureds alike need to brace for hard market conditions—less growth, steeper rate increases, a smaller number of carriers in the market, and more limits on coverage.”
Given the tough market conditions, the Auto Insurance industry will have to come up with innovative products and ways to cut costs, given the tough market conditions.
For example, climate change has increased the risks associated with natural disasters. So many insurers now offer rebates to customers who choose low-emission vehicles.
Innovative Car Technology
As concerns over climate change grow, consumers are pushed to change their buying habits, moving from traditional fuel-guzzling cars to more environmentally-friendly vehicles.
This threat to our earth is moving motor vehicle manufacturers to invest much time and money in adopting alternative energy for their vehicles.
In terms of electric car ownership, Americans still have concerns about steep price tags, limited driving range, and availability of charging spots. However, as more manufacturers invest in this technology, costs decrease, making electric vehicles far more accessible to your average consumer.
With the number of vehicles sold set to rise in the coming years, car dealerships will continue to play an important part in the car buying process. Research done by Linchpinseo states that “automobile dealerships and auto parts stores make up 20% of the country’s retail sales. That is the largest sector of the total U.S retail sales.”
For many of us, the majority of research when purchasing a new car takes place online. However, the future of physical dealerships seems secure for a number of reasons.
Paul Gao of McKinsey & Company, “In the United States, you still have to buy a car from a physical dealer. The dealers, the franchisees, are still protected by regulation. The transition from physical dealership to digital dealership to virtual showroom might be faster in China or Asia than in more mature markets, where regulation tends to lag behind.”
He also believes in the importance of having a physical collection point – “For individuals who are buying luxury and expensive sports cars—that final handshake with the salespeople still has a certain emotional appeal. And that, I think, will still be the case in 2030.” – Mckinsey.com
How Many Cars Are There In The World In 2021?
Car ownership statistics vary, but as of 2021, there is believed to be a whopping 1.4 billion vehicles on Earth. The majority of which are in Asia, followed by Europe and North America.
What Is The Only Nation In The World That Averages More Than One Car Per Person?
San Marino is truly a microstate with a land area that covers just over 24 sq mi, but it punches well above its weight when it comes to the number of automobiles registered there. Car ownership statistics show that on average each person, man, woman, and child own 1.6 cars.
To put this into perspective: The country of Belize is 400 times larger than San Marino, yet they have roughly the same number of motor vehicle registrations.
Being the 5th smallest country in the world, one would think that the number of cars registered in San Marino would dominate the landscape and ruin the beautiful Italian countryside that surrounds it, correct? Wrong. Not all cars registered in San Marino stay in San Marino.
Unlike the European Union and the EU state of Italy of which it is completely surrounded, San Marino does not enforce the 22% value-added tax on vehicle registrations. Rather, a modest taxation stance of between 3.5 and 7% is imposed.
The result of this is thaSan Marino is truly a microstate with a land area that covers just over 24 sq mi, but it punches well above its weight when it comes to the number of automobiles registered there. Car ownership statistics show that on average each person, man, woman, and child own 1.6 cars.
Who Owns The Most Cars?
The 29th Sultan of Brunei holds the largest private car collection in the world consisting of a monumental 7,000 total vehicles, having an impressive combined value of $5 billion. Included in his car ownership collection are Ferrari F40s, Mclaren F1s, and a Rolls Royce Phantom 2 Continental.
As mentioned at the outset of this article, “The All-American boy” will probably never get over the automobile. Throughout the decades, we have seen a few fundamental changes in the way cars are not only produced but how the consumer reacts to these changes.
While it is difficult to accurately predict what the future holds for the used and new car market, we can be sure that most Americans will learn to love the advancements made in the motor industry as we enter into a more carbon-neutral world.
There will always be a need to get from A to B, and a strong desire for the freedom that owning a personal vehicle brings. Humans will continue to seek the prominence and status that car ownership brings. (And even the thrill of buying and selling cars.)
So buckle up, with the fast-paced and exciting advancements made in motor vehicle technology it will prove to be an exhilarating ride.
How many cars are in the USA 2022? ›
In the second quarter of 2022, there were just over 284 million vehicles operating on roads throughout the United States.How many cars total in the US? ›
|Characteristic||Number of vehicles in thousands|
There are 289.5 million cars in the U.S. This number includes all vehicles, including cars, SUVs, vans, and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that were registered as of December 2021. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of cars in the U.S. rose by 0.91%.How many cars do Americans buy in a lifetime? ›
Some popular car websites have found that people own around six cars on average throughout their lifetime. We know what you're thinking, six cars?! That's so many!How many people in the US don't have a car? ›
However, approximately 8.7% of Americans, or more than 28 million, still had no access to vehicles in 2019. Highly urbanized, Washington D.C. and New York state had the highest rate of people without access to a vehicle with 35% and 29%, respectively.Are there more cars than humans in America? ›
The U.S. is ranked 25th in world by number of passenger cars per person, just above Ireland and just below Bahrain. There are 439 cars here for every thousand Americans, meaning a little more than two people for every car.What percent of the world has a car? ›
As of 2022, there are about 1.446 billion cars that call planet Earth home. That's 17.7% of people who have a car.What country has the most cars? ›
San Marino is the nation having the most cars in the world. It has 1,139 passenger cars. San Marino is a very infamous and small country with only an area of 24 square miles.How many cars are sold in the US every year? ›
U.S. car sales from 1951 to 2021 (in million units)
|Characteristic||Car sales in million units|
In other words, people now expect to be in their car 6, 7, or 8 years after they buy it. (Read More: New Car Buyers Stretching Out Payments.) That's a dramatic change from a well-established rule in the auto industry. For years, automakers counted on Americans to buy, on average, a new car or truck every 3 or 4 years.
Does everyone in America own a car? ›
Does everyone in America own a car? No, there are about 9% of households in America that do not own a car.Does the average American own a car? ›
The US is a car-loving country, and the average household owns 1.88 cars. This means that a typical adult of driving age owned 0.99 cars, on average.How many cars does the average person own? ›
|Characteristic||Number of vehicles per household|
Considering that ACS counted 150 million workers in 2016, that's at least 115 million cars and trucks hitting American streets every day. It's no wonder congestion is so pervasive during morning and afternoon rush hours.How many cars can you own? ›
If you live in the United States, you can own as many cars as you want. There is no limit. However, several other things can limit the number of cars that you can have, so keep reading while we discuss space, insurance, local laws, and more to help you make an informed decision.How many cars are there on the road? ›
It is estimated that over 1 billion passenger cars travel the streets and roads of the world today.How long do Americans own cars? ›
Americans own their longest-kept cars for an average of about 8 years. In our sample, 64% have only owned their current cars for 5 years or less. 80% of Americans considered cost before buying a new car. Top factors that Americans consider before purchasing a new car are cost, fuel economy, maintenance and performance.How often do most people replace their cars? ›
In general, however, people don't really keep their cars forever. Research by R.L. Polk says that the average age of a modern vehicle is 11.4 years, while the average length of time drivers keep a new vehicle is 71.4 months — around 6 years.
|Year||Number of Cars Sold|
Cars per capita by country
In both countries there are about 0.9 vehicles for every person. There are 1.446 billion cars in the world in 2022. Most are in Asia, followed by Europe and North America. 19% of all vehicles are in the United States.
Why is America so car dependent? ›
The average American commute exceeds 10 miles, making cars the default option for getting to work and many other types of trips. As a result, our car dependence continues to grow.Which city has more cars than humans? ›
San Marino's Car Population
On average, that works out to be 1.6 cars per person (including kids). 1 But not all of the cars registered in San Marino stay in San Marino. The pea-sized country is a tax haven. Separate from the European Union, it doesn't enforce the 22% value-added tax that Italy imposes.
The car collection of the 29th Sultan of Brunei is the largest private car collection in the world, consisting of approximately 7,000 cars, which have an estimated combined value over US$5 billion.Is there more wheels or doors? ›
While thus excluding many potential doors, we can still say there are far more doors than wheels in the world. One simple explanation is that built, immovable structures far outnumber wheeled vehicles. In order for there to be more wheels than doors, there would need to be more vehicles than buildings.How many people in the world can drive? ›
It is estimated there are about 1.4 billion drivers in the world, but the number may be higher and closer to 2 billion. Here's why it is difficult to come up with a number: Although about 84.1% of the US population is a licensed driver, the percentage of drivers around the world is closer to 16% to 17%.Which country buys the most Teslas? ›
There are many popular vehicle manufacturers and Tesla is certainly one of them. The nation at the top of the list of Tesla sales by country is the United States. This is probably of little surprise to those who own electric vehicles or follow the electric vehicle industry closely.How many cars are there in the world in 2022? ›
As of 2022, there are about 1.446 billion cars that call planet Earth home. That's 17.7% of people who have a car.What will the U.S. population be in 2022? ›
As our nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau projects the United States population will be 332,403,650 on Jan. 1, 2022. This represents a 0.21% increase in population or an additional 706,899 people since New Year's Day 2021.Which country has most cars? ›
China has the largest fleet of motor vehicles in the world in 2022, with 307 million motor vehicles, excluding two-wheelers and in 2009 became the world's largest new car market as well.How many cars exist in the world? ›
|Historical trend of worldwide vehicle registrations 1960-2017 (thousands)|
|Type of vehicle||1960||2018|
|Note (1) Car registrations do not include U.S. light trucks (SUVs, minivan and pickups) that are used for personal travel. The US accounts these vehicles among trucks.|
Who owns most cars in the world? ›
The car collection of the 29th Sultan of Brunei is the largest private car collection in the world, consisting of approximately 7,000 cars, which have an estimated combined value over US$5 billion.How many cars are sold in US each year? ›
U.S. car sales from 1951 to 2021 (in million units)
|Characteristic||Car sales in million units|
Overpopulation isn't what you think
Despite that, global population at the start of 2022 was nearly 7.87 billion, and should cross the 8 billion mark over the next few years.
Many scientists think Earth has a maximum carrying capacity of 9 billion to 10 billion people. [ How Do You Count 7 Billion People?] One such scientist, the eminent Harvard University sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, bases his estimate on calculations of the Earth's available resources.
And how does rapid population growth come to an end? These are the big questions that are central to this research article. The world population increased from 1 billion in 1800 to around 8 billion today. The world population growth rate declined from around 2% per year 50 years ago to under 1.0% per year.What celebrity has the most cars? ›
Not surprisingly, Jay Leno takes first place in the most searched results. The former late night host is now mostly known for his show Jay Leno's Garage, and he owns more than 180 cars along with 160 motorcycles.Which country people drive the most? ›
Americans drive a lot. Far more than residents in most other countries. That may not come as a shock, but it has implications for all of our lives.Which city has more cars than people? ›
On average, that works out to be 1.6 cars per person (including kids). 1 But not all of the cars registered in San Marino stay in San Marino.Does everyone in America own a car? ›
Does everyone in America own a car? No, there are about 9% of households in America that do not own a car.Is there more wheels or doors? ›
While thus excluding many potential doors, we can still say there are far more doors than wheels in the world. One simple explanation is that built, immovable structures far outnumber wheeled vehicles. In order for there to be more wheels than doors, there would need to be more vehicles than buildings.
Which country buys the most Teslas? ›
There are many popular vehicle manufacturers and Tesla is certainly one of them. The nation at the top of the list of Tesla sales by country is the United States. This is probably of little surprise to those who own electric vehicles or follow the electric vehicle industry closely.