From cars to trucks 14 things to know about what vehicles are on EU roads

An overview of the European motor vehicle fleet in 2021

  1. In 2019, the European Union passenger car fleet grew by 1.8% compared to 2018, with the number of cars on the road reaching 242.7 million. The highest growth was recorded in Romania (+7%), whereas the French car market contracted slightly (-0.3%).
  2. More than 28 million vans are in circulation throughout the EU. With 6 million vehicles, France has by far the largest van fleet, followed by Italy (4.2 million vans), Spain (3.8 million) and Germany (2.8 million).
  3. There are 6.2 million medium and heavy commercial vehicles on the EU’s roads. Counting almost 1.2 million trucks, Poland has the largest fleet, followed closely by Germany (1,010,742) and Italy (946,393).
  4. Around 692,207 buses are in operation throughout the European Union, almost half of which can be found in three countries alone: Poland, Italy and France.
  5. EU cars are now on average 11.5 years old. Lithuania, Estonia and Romania have the oldest fleets, with vehicles older than 16 years. The newest cars can be found in Luxembourg (6.5 years) and Austria (8.3 years).
  6. The average age of light commercial vehicles in the EU is 11.6 years. Among the EU’s four major markets, Spain has the oldest van fleet (13.0 years), followed closely by Italy (12.6 years).
  7. Trucks are on average 13 years old in the European Union. Aged more than 21 years, Greek trucks are the oldest in the EU. The newest trucks are in Austria (6.4 years).
  8. The average age of buses on EU roads is 11.7 years. The oldest buses can be found in Greece (19.9 years), while the newest ones are in Austria (4.8 years).
  9. Despite an increase in registrations in recent years, alternatively-powered cars make up just 4.6% of the total EU car fleet. 0.8% of all cars on our roads are hybrid, while both battery electric and plug-in hybrids each account for only 0.2% of the total.
  10. Diesel-powered light commercial vehicles are dominant in all EU countries except for Greece: almost 90% of the EU van fleet runs on diesel. Just 0.3% of vans in the EU are battery electric.
  11. 97.8% of all trucks in the EU run on diesel, while petrol fuels 1.3% of the fleet. 0.04% of trucks on the EU roads are zero-emissions.
  12. Diesel buses still account for 94.5% the EU fleet, with only 0.6% being battery electric.
  13. The European Union counts 569 cars per 1,000 inhabitants. Luxembourg has the highest car density in the EU (694 per 1,000 people) and Latvia the lowest (342).
  14. In Hungary and Latvia half of all households do not own a car, while more than 31% of French families have two cars.

Source: The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA)


8th April 2021

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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