Vehicles per Thousand Inhabitants in the EU and US

Mar 8, 2018
Chart of EU and US Vehicular Ownership Rates

The chart above shows the rate of motor vehicle ownership in EU and US states.  Clearly, Americans love motor vehicles more than Europeans do.


  • The difference between the state with the largest ownership rate, Montana, and the state with the smallest rate, Romania, is 1,395 vehicles per 1,000 people.
  • Montana has over six times the ownership rate that Romania does.
  • Eleven states have more vehicles than people, one has as many vehicles as people, and all twelve of these are in the United States.
  • The mean ownership rate for the US is 943.9 and the median 902.4, both of which are higher than every EU state.
  • The mean ownership rate for the EU is 555.5 and the median 568.9, both of which are lower than every US state except New York.


  • EU and US vehicle ownership data is from 2015.
  • US population data is from 2010; EU population data is from 2011.
  • EU and US vehicle ownership data come from different sources.
  • EU and US population data come from different sources, although both are the official sources for each.
  • Total vehicles include automobiles, taxis, buses, trucks, and motorcycles of both public and private use.


It is interesting to note that in the US, the larger and more rural a state is, the more likely it is to have high vehicle ownership rates, whereas in the EU the states with the highest vehicle ownership rates tend to be small and very urbanized.  Also, only the EU has states with less than one vehicle for every two people.

The ownership rate for the entire United States is 854 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants which ranks the US as a whole just under Luxembourg and just above Georgia.  The ownership rate for the entire European Union is 578 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants which ranks the EU as a whole just under Slovenia and just above Greece.


Eurostat.  2017.  "Data Explorer."  Accessed December 11, 2017.

International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.  2018.  "Vehicles in Use - OICA."  Accessed January 20, 2018.

United States Census Bureau.  "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016."  Accessed December 12, 2017.

United States Department of Transportation.  2018.  "Table MV-1 - Highway Statistics 2015."  Accessed February 20, 2018.