Car Ownership Statistics 2024

Car Ownership Statistics

Car Ownership Statistics Americans highly value owning cars, as demonstrated by the recent car ownership statistics in the U.S. From 2017 to 2021, there was a 3.66% increase in personal and commercial vehicle registrations, indicating a rising trend in car ownership. In 2021, the majority of U.S. households (91.7%) owned at least one vehicle, while 22.1% of households owned three or more vehicles. Forbes Advisor delved into the latest data to explore car ownership rates, ownership costs including car insurance, electric vehicle ownership rates, and popular car models by state.

Car Ownership Statistics 2024

Car ownership statistics for 2024 are projected to show a continued increase in the number of cars on the road. With advancements in technology and improved accessibility, more and more individuals are opting for car ownership as a means of transportation. Additionally, changing demographics and lifestyle choices are contributing to this trend, with younger generations showing a preference for car ownership over other modes of transportation. However, it is important to note that these statistics can vary depending on factors such as economic conditions, environmental concerns, and government policies.

National Car Ownership Statistics at a Glance

  • A total of 278,063,737 personal and commercial vehicles were registered to drivers in the U.S. in 2021.
  • The number of registered vehicles in the United States increased by 3.66% between 2017 and 2021, indicating an upward trend in car ownership.
  • Trucks are the most popular vehicle type, with 166,079,082 private and commercial vehicle registrations in 2021, compared to 101,601,344 vehicle registrations for cars.
  • 91.7% of households had at least one vehicle in 2021. Only 8.3% of households did not have a vehicle.
  • Idaho and Wyoming tied for the highest rate of car ownership nationwide, with 96.2% of households in both states reporting access to at least one vehicle in 2021.
  • Only 64.3% of households in the District of Columbia had at least one vehicle in 2021, the lowest percentage nationwide.
  • Wyoming residents were most likely to own three or more vehicles (33.5%), followed by Utah residents (32.3%).
  • The Ford F-Series is the most popular vehicle model nationwide, based on sales in 2022.

How Many Cars Are There in the U.S.?

Total number of vehicles

In 2021, drivers in the U.S. registered a combined total of 278,063,737 personal and commercial vehicles. The number of registered vehicles in the United States rose by 3.66% from 2017 to 2021, increasing from 268,258,178 to 278,063,737, demonstrating a growing trend in car ownership.

States with the most vehicles

Montana tops the list of states with the highest number of motor vehicle registrations per 1,000 licensed drivers in 2021 (2,492.55), followed by:

  • South Dakota (2,067.69)
  • Wyoming (2,015.58)
  • North Dakota (1,643.66)
  • Iowa (1,619.97)

States with the fewest vehicles

Delaware has the lowest number of motor vehicle registrations per 1,000 licensed drivers in 2021 (547.23), followed by:

  • District of Columbia (652.13)
  • New York (787.69)
  • New Jersey (956.75)
  • Arizona (1,027.52)

Increases and decreases in car ownership

​​Delaware had the largest increase in motor vehicle registrations (49.55%) between 2017 and 2021, followed by:

  • Maine (28.09%)
  • Arkansas (25.08%)
  • Utah (19.99%)
  • Montana (18.18%)

The District of Columbia had the largest decrease in motor vehicle registrations between 2017 and 2021, with vehicle registrations dropping by 65.5%, followed by:

  • West Virginia (27.42%)
  • Alaska (13.98%)
  • New York (13.27%)
  • North Dakota (12.87% )

Trucks lead vehicle ownership

Trucks are the most popular vehicle type, with 166,079,082 private and commercial vehicle registrations in 2021, compared to 101,601,344 vehicle registrations for cars.

States With the Highest Number of Registered Vehicles, Ranked

Table with 4 columns and 51 rows. Currently displaying rows 1 to 10.
Motor Vehicle Registrations
1 Montana 2492.55 18.18%
2 South Dakota 2067.69 12.48%
3 Wyoming 2015.58 8.23%
4 North Dakota 1643.66 −12.87%
5 Iowa 1619.97 2.44%
6 Arkansas 1514.37 25.08%
7 Idaho 1465.90 8.07%
8 Kentucky 1447.39 2.66%
9 Indiana 1343.94 1.42%
10 Alabama 1343.27 10.34%

How Many Americans Own a Car?

Car ownership in America is on the rise. Only 8.3% of households did not have a vehicle in 2021, a 5.7% decrease from 2017, when 8.8% of households did not have a vehicle.

  • Most households (91.7%) had at least one vehicle in 2021, up from 91.2% in 2017.
  • 37.1% of households had two vehicles in 2021, a 0.8% decrease from 2017 (37.4%).
  • 22.1% of households had three or more vehicles in 2021, a 7.28% increase from 2017 (20.6%).
% of Households % Change in Vehicle Ownership
0 8.80% 8.30% -5.68%
1 33.20% 32.50% -2.11%
2 37.40% 37.10% -0.80%
3 or more 20.60% 22.10% 7.28%

Car Ownership Statistics by State

States with the highest rate of car ownership

Idaho and Wyoming tied for the highest rate of car ownership nationwide, with 96.2% of households in each state reporting access to at least one vehicle in 2021, followed by:

  • Utah (96.1%)
  • Montana (95.2%)
  • New Hampshire (95.2%)

States with the lowest rate of car ownership

Rounding out the states with the lowest percentage of households that have at least one vehicle are:

  • District of Columbia (64.3%)
  • New York (71%)
  • Massachusetts (87.9%)
  • New Jersey (88.7%)
  • Illinois (89.3%)

States with the most vehicles per household

Wyoming residents were most likely to own three or more vehicles (33.5%), followed by:

  • Utah (32.3%)
  • Idaho (32.1%)
  • Montana (31.2%)
  • South Dakota (30.2%)

Electric vehicle ownership by state

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles accounted for 12.3% of all new vehicles sold in 2022, up 2.7 percentage points from 2021, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

  • California has the highest rate of EV ownership, with EVs representing 1.61% of total registered vehicles in the state as of 2021.
  • Mississippi and North Dakota have the lowest rate of electr
  • ic vehicle ownership, with EVs representing 0.05% of total vehicles registered in both states as of 2021.

Car Ownership Statistics by Metro Area

Top five metro areas for highest vehicle ownership

The Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Alabama, metropolitan area boasts the highest rate of vehicle ownership nationwide, with 97.56% of households owning at least one vehicle in 2021 followed by:

  • Provo-Orem, Utah (97.48% of households)
  • Logan, Utah (96.83% of households)
  • Twin Falls, Idaho (96.74% of households)
  • Greeley, Colorado (96.72% of households)

Top five metro areas for lowest vehicle ownership

The New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area of New York and New Jersey reported the lowest rate of car ownership in 2021, with only 69.63% of households having at least one vehicle, followed by:

  • Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey (87% of households)
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton region of Massachusetts and New Hampshire (87.28% of households)
  • Ithaca, New York (87.44% of households)
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington region of New Jersey, Philadelphia and Delaware (87.54% of households)

Top five metro areas for most vehicles per household

The Idaho Falls, Idaho, metropolitan area was home to the highest percentage of households that have three or more vehicles in 2021, with 35.99% of households, followed by:

  • Provo-Orem, Utah (35.94% of households)
  • Logan, Utah (35.59% of households)
  • Greeley, Colorado (35.38% of households)
  • Yakima, Washington (35.22% of households)
1 Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL 97.56%
2 Provo-Orem, UT 97.48%
3 Logan, UT-ID 96.83%
4 Twin Falls, ID 96.74%
5 Greeley, CO 96.72%
6 St. George, UT 96.48%
7 Boise, ID 96.41%
8 Ogden-Clearfield, UT 96.39%
9 Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR 96.36%
10 The Villages, FL 96.32%

Most popular car models

The Ford F-Series is the most popular vehicle model nationwide, based on 2022 sales. A whopping 653,957 Ford F-Series pickups were sold in 2022. Other car models that rank among the most popular in 2022 included:

  • Chevrolet Silverado (513,354 sales)
  • Ram Pickup (468,344 sales)
  • Toyota RAV4 (399,941 sales)
  • Toyota Camry (295,201 sales)
1 Ford F-Series 653,957
2 Chevrolet Silverado 513,354
3 Ram Pickup 468,344
4 Toyota RAV4 399,941
5 Toyota Camry 295,201
6 Tesla Model Y 252,000
7 GMC Sierra 241,522
8 Honda CR-V 238,155
9 Toyota Tacoma 237,323
10 Jeep Grand Cherokee 223,345

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How Much Does It Cost To Own a Car?

It costs $10,728 a year, or $894 a month, to own and operate a new car, according to AAA. That’s up 10.99% from 2021, when the average yearly cost was $9,666 a year, or $805.50 a month.

Here are some additional car ownership statistics about new cars:

  • In 2022, the average sales price for a new car was $45,646, and the average sales price for a used car was $30,796.
  • Over the past five years, new cars have cost $39,884 on average, and used cars have cost $24,242 on average.
  • Between 2018 and 2022, new vehicles increased in price by 28.19%, and used vehicles increased in price by 49.60%.

Most expensive states to own a car

California and Nevada tied as the most expensive states to own a car nationwide, followed by:

  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Alaska

Seven of the 10 most expensive states for car ownership are located in the Pacific and West, including California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, New Mexico, Washington and Wyoming.

Most expensive states for car repairs

Connecticut is the most expensive state for car repairs ($418.37) on average for check engine light-related car repairs followed by:

  • Colorado ($417.14)
  • California ($415.66)
  • Georgia ($407.71)
  • North Carolina ($402.61)

Most expensive states for full coverage car insurance

New York is the most expensive state for full coverage car insurance ($4,769 per year), followed by:

  • Florida ($4,326 per year)
  • Louisiana ($3,629 per year)
  • Pennsylvania ($3,600 per year)
  • Maryland ($3,349 per year)

Living in these states makes it extra important for car owners to compare car insurance quotes to find affordable rates.

Least expensive states to own a car

Ohio is the least expensive state to own a car, followed by:

  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire

Six of the 10 least expensive states for car ownership are located in the Midwest, including Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio. Iowa and Ohio car ownership costs are reduced by cheap car insurance rates, thanks to healthy competition among a multitude of car insurance companies in both states.

Methodology

Forbes Advisor analyzed data for all 50 states to determine which ones are the most expensive for car ownership. The metrics used to evaluate each state included factors such as gas prices, insurance rates, repair costs, and taxes. By examining these different elements, Forbes Advisor was able to gain a comprehensive understanding of the expenses associated with owning and maintaining a vehicle in each state. This information can be useful for car owners who are looking to relocate or those who want to make more informed decisions about their automotive expenses.

Cost of regular gasoline (25% of score)

The data for this metric is sourced from AAA, a well-respected provider of travel and automotive services. The organization has been serving its members for over a century and has established itself as a trusted source of information and assistance. Whether you need help planning a trip or roadside assistance, AAA is there to provide reliable support and guidance. Their data is widely used across different industries to inform decision-making processes and improve customer experiences.

Average car repair cost (25% of score)

The check engine light is an important warning sign that alerts car owners to potentially serious issues with their vehicle. If the light does come on, it’s important to take the car to a mechanic for diagnosis and repair. The cost of this service can vary widely depending on the specific issue causing the warning light to come on, as well as the cost of parts and labor required for the repair. It’s essential to choose a reputable mechanic who can accurately diagnose and fix the problem at a fair price.

Average annual cost of full coverage car insurance (25% of score)

This metric is based on liability coverage of 100/300/100 ($100,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $300,000 per accident, and $100,000 in property damage liability), uninsured motorist coverage, and collision and comprehensive insurance with a $500 deductible. We used 2022 rates from Quadrant Information Services.

Average monthly auto loan payment (25% of score)

The data for this metric is sourced from Experian, a global information services company that provides credit reporting and marketing services to businesses and consumers. With operations in over 40 countries, Experian is committed to helping individuals and organizations manage risk, prevent fraud, and make informed financial decisions. Their extensive database of consumer and business information makes them a valuable resource for companies seeking insights on their target market and industry trends.

How many cars will be produced in 2025?

Light vehicle production worldwide forecast 2019-2025

In 2025, it is projected that some 99 million light vehicles will be produced worldwide.

Summary

Car ownership continues to be a significant aspect of our lives, and the statistics for 2024 show that it will remain a prevalent mode of transportation. Whether it’s for convenience, personal preference, or necessity, owning a car provides individuals with freedom and mobility. However, it’s essential to consider the environmental impact and explore alternative options such as carpooling, public transportation, or investing in electric vehicles. By staying informed about car ownership trends and making conscious choices, we can contribute to a more sustainable future. Stay tuned for more updates on car ownership statistics and trends in the coming years.

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