Size and composition of the vehicle fleet

Indicator Fact Sheet (Deprecated)
Prod-ID: IND-141-en
Also known as: TERM 032
Note: new version is available!
Topics: ,

Assessment made on  01 Sep 2006

Generic metadata



DPSIR: Driving force


Indicator codes
  • TERM 032

Policy issue:  The size of the privately owned vehicle fleet (cars and powered two-wheelers) is an important driving factor behind road transport demand and the environmental pressures it causes

Key messages

  • The level of car ownership is growing rapidly in the EEA area, especially in countries with relatively low car ownership levels, like the new member states (former EU10) and AC3 (Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey). Increasing private vehicle ownership has proven to lead to increased usage of private vehicles and might have the opposite effect on public transport usage in the future, although up to the year 2002, the number of buses-coaches per capita appears to increase.

    The number of trucks - strongly related to economic development - increased considerably in the new member states and AC3, reflecting the greater dependence of their transport system on road transport. However, in some of the EU15 countries the number of trucks has decreased during the period 1991-2002.


Key assessment

Passenger transport vehicles

The entire vehicle fleet in the EEA area has grown during the last decade. Especially the vehicle fleets in the new member states and AC3 have grown rapidly, reflecting significant changes in the structure of both passenger transport (from rail to private cars) and freight transport (from rail to trucks).

Car ownership has increased dramatically in recent decades. In the EEA32 area it grew from 313 to 397 cars per 1 000 inhabitants between 1991 and 2002, an average of 2.3 % per year. Car ownership is thus growing even faster than per capita income (on average 1.8 % per annum over the same period). The average number of passenger cars per capita increased strongly in the EU25 (especially in the new member states) and AC3 between 1991 and 2002 by 25 % and 90 % respectively, following economic growth. Despite this increase, the car ownership level in the new member states and AC3 remains considerably lower compared to the EU15 and EFTA countries. In the AC3 countries, the average motorisation level expressed by the number of cars per 1 000 inhabitants was 98 and in the year 2002, which is approximately five times lower than the corresponding number for EU15 countries (492).

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100