Depending on where you live and who you know, it might seem that most people these days own no cars, one car, or more than one car. Of course, these statistics vary based on age, socio-economic situation, and location, but some overall trends can be detected. Let’s check out the facts.
For years, it seemed that cars were on their way out. Automobile ownership had been steadily increasing over time until it hit its peak in 2006, when the average number of vehicles owned reached 2.05 per household. However, ownership decreased over the next seven years, eventually getting down to 1.927 cars per household.
Similarly, on an individual level, the average American owned 0.79 cars in 2006, but this rate fell each year (excluding a brief jump in 2011) until 2013. Analysts were quick to jump on this as evidence of the decline of the automotive industry, and perhaps a previously car-obsessed American culture.
Along with this, average miles driven also declined. It’s been observed that millennials tend to show more interest in public transportation and ride sharing rather than having their own vehicle.
Ever Wondered: How many miles can you drive on empty?
Returning to the Road
However, since 2014, auto ownership has been trending upwards once again. This has been credited to the availability of cheap gas and an improving economy. Now that young people are finally getting jobs again, they also have the need, and ability, to buy a vehicle.
How many cars do people in Austin own?
In Austin, it seems we’re still well below the national average, with the reported average number of vehicles owned per household in 2016 being 1.65. Perhaps we can chalk that up to our cowboy roots- it’s safe to say our percentage of horses owned is higher than the national rate. More likely though, it’s due to the convenient availability of public transportation (and walkability) in city living.
Interestingly, the ownership of just one vehicle doesn’t correspond strongly with annual income level. It’s reported that it’s just as likely for a household earning over 250k to have only one car as it is for a household earning around 20- 30k.