Car ownership statistics in the United States

In 2020, there were 275,913,237 registered vehicles in the United States, of which 1,454,480 were electric cars. At least 91.7% of Americans have access to at least one vehicle.

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Rachael BrennanRachael BrennanSenior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance ExpertRachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Edited by

Anna SwartzAnna SwartzSenior Managing Editor & Auto Insurance ExpertAnna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic.com, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.

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According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Americans spent more than a trillion dollars on their cars in 2020, with gas and oil taking up more than $228 billion of that total. [1]

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This isn’t surprising, since there were about 272 million private and commercial vehicles in the U.S. in 2020. [2]

Key takeaways

  • From 2017 to 2021, 8.3% of American households did not have access to a vehicle.

  • White is the most popular color for cars, followed by black, gray, and silver.

  • California has 563,070 electric cars, which is the highest number of registered EVs in the country. 

  • North Dakota has the fewest electric cars, with only 380 registered electric vehicles.

How many people in the U.S. own a car?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 275,913,237 registered vehicles in the United States in 2020. California had the most registered vehicles, and Washington D.C. had the least.

State

Number of registered vehicles 

Alabama

5,208,055

Alaska

773,487

Arizona

5,994,049

Arkansas

2,873,523

California

29,772,776

Colorado

5,289,701

Connecticut

2,861,733

Delaware

1,000,965

D.C.

319,157

Florida

18,170,725

Georgia

8,670,440

Hawaii

1,222,626

Idaho

1,906,586

Illinois

10,489,500

Indiana

6,174,483

Iowa

3,747,148

Kansas

2,587,402

Kentucky

4,364,808

Louisiana

3,771,473

Maine

1,105,912

Maryland

4,134,474

Massachusetts

5,021,482

Michigan

8,378,579

Minnesota

5,638,650

Mississippi

2,044,918

Missouri

5,531,016

Montana

1,948,225

Nebraska

1,888,168

Nevada

2,525,687

New Hampshire

1,346,800

New Jersey

5,944,293

New Mexico

1,755,205

New York

11,259,986

North Carolina

8,595,707

North Dakota

880,524

Ohio

10,481,200

Oklahoma

3,708,789

Oregon

4,014,446

Pennsylvania

10,563,010

Rhode Island

849,912

South Carolina

4,356,396

South Dakota

1,271,188

Tennessee

5,699,910

Texas

22,100,167

Utah

2,443,052

Vermont

596,297

Virginia

7,464,143

Washington

7,068,917

West Virginia

1,617,933

Wisconsin

5,532,287

Wyoming

845,095

Collapse table

The number of cars in each state varies but, surprisingly, the number isn’t necessarily impacted by the number of people living in the state. 

For example, there were more than 19 million people living in New York in 2020 and only 11,259,986 cars, which means there was one car for every two people. Alabama, however, had more cars than people, with 4.9 million people living in the state and 5,208,055 cars.

Number of private and commercial vehicles

Source: US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration [3]

What percentage of Americans don't own cars?

From 2017 to 2021, less than 10% of households did not have access to a vehicle, while more than 20% of households had more than two cars.  [4]

Number of vehicles per household

Percentage of households

      None

8.30%

        One vehicle

32.50%

        Two vehicles 

37.10%

        Three or more vehicles 

22.10%

Source: U.S. Census [5]

The percentage of households with three or more cars is almost three times higher than the percentage of households with no vehicles available.

People with access to high quality public transportation are less likely to own a car, while people living in areas without public trains or buses are more likely to own at least one car.

Not owning a car doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have access to a car; many people borrow cars from relatives or regularly use car rental programs like Zipcar as a form of transportation. 

→ Learn about non-owner car insurance

According to Edmunds, one out of every four cars sold is white, making it the most popular car color in the United States. Yellow and purple make up the least popular color for cars, each representing only 0.2% of cars sold each year.  

Rank

Color

Total Percentage

1

White

24.90%

2

Black

20%

3

Gray

19.20%

4

Silver

12.60%

5

Blue

10%

Source: Edmunds [6]

In 2022, Ford and Toyota were the most popular car brands in the United States. The least popular car brands were Lucid and Fiat, both of which sold less than 2,000 cars last year.

The chart below shows the top ten best selling car brands in the U.S. in 2022:

Vehicle make

Number sold in 2022

Ford

1,764,267

Toyota

1,755,552

Chevrolet

1,512,875

Honda

881,201

Hyundai

716,911

Jeep

684,613

Nissan

682,749

Kia

678,485

Subaru

556,581

Ram

545,195

Collapse table

Source: GoodCarBadCar [7]

Electric vehicle ownership by state

Government subsidies and incentives for purchasing an electric car, as well as the increased presence of electric car charging stations, are helping increase the number of electric cars on the road. Here are the five states with the most registered electric vehicles:

  1. California (563,070 EVs)

  2. Florida (95,640 EVs)

  3. Texas (80,900 EVs)

  4. Washington (66,810 EVs)

  5. New York (51,870 EVs)

California has about 39% of the total number of EVs in the nation. On the other end of the spectrum, North Dakota only has 380 registered EVs, which means they have the fewest electric cars on the road.

EV registration by state

Source: U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center [8]

States that want to encourage EV ownership often create laws designed to support EV use, so drivers who are interested in purchasing an electric car should look into the laws in their state to see what type of laws, subsidies, and other financial incentives are available to them.

 → Learn about the best and worst states to own electric vehicles

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Frequently asked questions

Which state has the most car accidents?

According to the IIHS, California had 3,558 fatal accidents in 2020, making it the state with the most accidents in the country. Texas is a close second, with a total of 3,520 fatal accidents in 2020.

Which city has the most car thefts?

According to our car theft index, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO has the most stolen vehicles in the country, with 705.8 car thefts per 100,000 residents in 2020.

Which city has the highest car insurance rates?

According to our research, at an average rate of $6,148 per year, Brooklyn, NY has the highest insurance rates, followed by $5,764 per year in Hamtramck, MI and $5,609 per year in Detroit, MI.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

editorial standards.
  1. U.S. Department of Transportation: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    . "

    Automobile Profile

    ." Accessed January 11, 2023.

  2. US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

    (Policy and Governmental Affairs Office of Highway Policy Information). "

    Highway Statistics 2020

    ." Accessed January 11, 2023.

  3. United States Census Bureau

    . "

    Vehicles Available: American Community Survey

    ." Accessed January 11, 2023.

  4. US Census Bureau

    . "

    Selected Housing Characteristics

    ." Accessed January 11, 2023.

  5. Edmunds

    . "

    Most Popular Car Colors in America

    ." Accessed January 11, 2023.

  6. Goodcarbadcar

    . "

    2022 US VEHICLE SALES FIGURES BY BRAND

    ." Accessed January 11, 2023.

  7. US Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center

    . "

    Electric vehicle registrations by state

    ." Accessed January 11, 2023.

Author

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Editor

Anna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic.com, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.

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