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Size of the vehicle fleet

Indicator Specification Created 04 Jul 2008 Published 01 Jul 2010 Last modified 18 Mar 2016, 02:46 PM
Topics: ,
Indicator codes: TERM 032


Justification for indicator selection

Vehicle ownership and truck intensity are closely related to vehicle use, i.e. the vehicle fleet expands in response to the demand for increased mobility. However, increasing private vehicle ownership often leads to increased transport demand - and subsequent environmental pressures - as the costs for vehicle use are relatively low and many cost items are fixed (e.g. depreciation, insurance and holder’s tax). The size of the vehicle fleet is therefore an important driver for road passenger and freight transport demand, and the environmental pressures they cause. Additionally, the total size of a vehicle fleet (combined with its average age - see TERM 33 - Average age of the vehicle fleet) also gives some indication on the time needed for new technologies to penetrate into such fleets.

Scientific references

Indicator definition

Vehicle ownership is defined as the number of road vehicles (passenger cars and two-wheelers) per number of inhabitants. The number of buses and coaches per number of inhabitants has also been included. The indicator can be extended to include other vehicles specified by passenger transport mode (i.e. coaches, rail, maritime, air), although these are not privately owned.

Freight transport intensity is defined as number of vehicles per unit of GDP specified by freight transport mode (road, rail, inland, maritime).
The share of diesel cars in the entire passenger car fleet is defined as the number of diesel vehicles per total number of passenger cars.


Vehicle ownership is expressed as the number of vehicles per 1 000 inhabitants. Freight transport intensity is expressed as the number of heavy duty trucks per million Euro of GDP in constant 2010 prices. Dieselisation is expressed as the percentage of diesel vehicles in the entire passenger car fleet.

Policy context and targets

Context description

The level of vehicle ownership is closely related to car use and thus volume of mobility. Especially in urban areas, it is also related to traffic congestion and the higher concentration of air pollutants in the atmosphere.


There are no specific objectives or targets related to the size and composition of the vehicle fleet. Policy objectives are rather set with respect to the average age and environmental performance of the fleet.

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

Key policy question

Is the vehicle fleet expanding?


Methodology for indicator calculation

For passenger transport, vehicle ownership is calculated by dividing the total number of vehicles in each vehicle category (i.e. passenger cars, buses and coaches, two-wheelers) by the number of inhabitants in each country or country group. For freight transport, truck intensity is calculated by dividing the total number of trucks (i.e. light and heavy duty vehicles, freight trains) by the total GDP in each country or country group. The share of diesel passenger cars in the passenger car fleet is calculated by dividing the number of diesel passenger cars by total passenger car fleet.

Methodology for gap filling

Data gaps are filled either by interpolation, should data between reported data be missing, or by using the first (or last) reported value.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

Data are considered reliable as they are derived from official statistics (DG MOVE, Eurostat, AMECO).

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Diana Vedlugaite


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
TERM 032
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Transport Transport


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Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year


DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)
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