How Many Cars Per Capita in the USA

Think for a moment: How many cars do you own? How many cars sit in your home’s driveway? Chances are you answered with at least one or more cars. The United States has developed a reputation for owning the most cars per capita and this is because people think they have the necessary finances and ability to own as many cars as they want.


This reputation has led other countries and even people right here in the land of the free, to believe that the United States is the ultimate car capital of the world. But is this true?

To discover the truth behind whether or not the United States is the true car capital of the world, let’s compare it to several other countries across the globe. Everything from how many cars are on the road, to how many accidents and types of insurance will be compared to the neighboring countries. So fasten your seatbelts, and prepare for the wild ride that is ahead of you on the road to discovering if the United States truly is the car capital of the world.

Who Rules the Road – General Motor Vehicles

The United States Statistics

People like to believe that cars are the only vehicle on the road, but they aren’t. Cars drive alongside buses, semis and trucks. All of these vehicles compete for road space and contribute to your safety on the highway. So, when you combine every vehicle with four or more wheels, how does the United States compare?

How Many Cars in the US

How Many Cars in the US

It’s no surprise that the United States comes in first in the general motor vehicle category. Statistics from the World Bank show that for every 1,000 people there are 910 vehicles on the road.

Other Country Statistics

Here’s a look at the statistics for general motor vehicles for other countries around the world.

  • United Kingdom – 526 per 1,000 people
  • China – 37 per 1,000 people
  • India – 15 per 1,000 people
  • Luxemburg – 747 per 1,000 people
  • Germany – 554 per 1,000 people

The Winner of General Motor Vehicle Category: As statistics show, the United States is clearly in the lead but Luxemburg is close on its heels with less than 70 cars per 1,000 people. However, trends in China and India show that the number of motor vehicles is increasing. This should make for interesting competition for which country calls themselves ruler of the road for general motor vehicles.

Who Rules the Road – Passenger Vehicles

The United States Statistics

The statistics show that when all motor vehicles are considered the United States rules the road and has the most vehicles per person but what if you take out all the business vehicles and multi-passenger cars, would the United States still come out the ultimate winner?

Passenger Vehicles in the US

Passenger Vehicles in the US

Passenger vehicles are considered motor vehicles with more than two wheels and that carry less than nine people. In the United States, the number of passenger vehicles per 1,000 people is 451 vehicles.

Other Country Statistics

Let’s take the semis, trucks and buses off the road in other countries and see how they compare to the United States.

  • United Kingdom – 462 per 1,000 people
  • China – 27 per 1,000 people
  • India – 10 per 1,000 people
  • Luxemburg – 508 per 1,000 people
  • Germany – 673 per 1,000 people

The Winner of the Passenger Vehicle Category: While the United States is often viewed as being the country with the most cars per person, the statistics clearly show that this isn’t the case. When it comes to passenger vehicles, the United States isn’t even within the top five countries. Countries like Germany, Iceland, Ireland and Luxemburg all have over a hundred more vehicles per 1,000 people than the United States.

Safety First – World’s Most Dangerous Roads to Drive On

With the average country having over 100 vehicles per 1,000 people, that puts millions of cars on the road every year, and when too many cars are placed on the road it can make for a very dangerous situation.

In fact, the World Health Organizations estimates that traffic related deaths are the leading cause of death in the world. Before things get too depressing and you put away your car and vow to walk everywhere, let’s look at the statistics for various countries and see which countries are the most dangerous to drive in.

  • Sudan – 34.3 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Zimbabwe – 27.5 deaths per 100,000 people
  • United States – 12.3 deaths per 100,000 people
  • China –  16.5 deaths per 100,000 people
  • India – 16.8 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Germany – 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people
  • Luxemburg – 9 deaths per 100,000 people

The Most Car Accident Prone Country

Countries like the United States, Germany and Luxemburg might have more cars on the road but the chance of encountering a fatal car accident in these countries is significantly less than you would encounter in African nations. African nations lead the world in fatal accidents per year.

Car Accident

Car Accident

If you’re worried about being in a fatal car crash, the United States is one of the safest countries to be driving in.

Who Insures the Drivers in All These Countries?

Car insurance companies protect drivers against car damage and insure the car in case of an accident. After looking at the dangers of driving in various countries and your chances of encountering a fatal car accident, it makes you wonder what country carries the best car insurance. After all, if you do get into a car accident you most certainly do not want to pay out-of-pocket.

The problem with this question is that it is a difficult statistic to compare. Just how every state in the United States has their own insurance laws, so does every country. Some countries, like the African countries, require no insurance at all, while some countries, like Germany, only require liability insurance. Other countries, like the United Kingdom and United States, have different insurance options that drivers choose to purchase. This varying factor makes it difficult to compare insurance coverage by country.

How many cars per capita: Rankings

By last year, situation has significantly changed for many states and at the moment is as follows:

States with 1.000 or more vehicles per 1.000 people
#StateQuantity per 1.000 people
1Wyoming1,140
2Montana1,120
3North Dakota1,080
4Iowa1,050
5Alabama1,030
States with under 1.000 vehicles per 1.000 people
1Alaska960
2Delaware950
3South Dakota950
4Ohio910
5Vermont910
6Louisiana910
7Minnesota870
8Utah870
9Michigan870
10Washington870
11Oklahoma860
12Wisconsin860
13Connecticut860
14Kentucky840
15Tennessee840
16Virginia840
17California840
18Kansas830
19New Hampshire830
20Missouri830
21Massachusetts820

Conclusion – Is the United States Really the Ruler of the Road?

The United States is certainly the ruler of the road when it comes to the amount of vehicles on the road. No other country has as many cars, trucks and semis on the road. However, when breaking it down to passenger vehicles the United States doesn’t even break the top five. Even with all these cars on the road, one thing is for certain – the United States is one of the safest countries to be driving in.

More about Cars in the USA

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