Vehicle Ownership and Availability

Vehicle Ownership and Availability

Slightly less than one-third of households said they had one personal vehicle1 available for use in 2001. A little more than one-third of households (40 million out of 107 million households) had 2 vehicles and slightly less than one-quarter had 3 or more vehicles available (figure 31). Almost 8 percent of households (8.5 million) had no vehicle available [1].

The amount of travel people do and the way they travel is strongly related to the availability of personal vehicles in their household. For instance, persons in households without vehicles took approximately 1,000 trips per person in 2001, while persons in households with at least 1 vehicle took 1,500 trips each. Persons in households without a vehicle traveled about 6,900 miles annually, less than half the 14,900 person-miles traveled by those in households with at least 1 vehicle. In addition, persons in households with at least 1 household vehicle made nearly 9 of every 10 trips by personal vehicle compared with less than 4 of 10 for those in households without a vehicle. Persons in households without access to vehicles made 37 percent of their trips on foot and another 20 percent by transit. This compares with 8 percent and 1 percent by foot and transit, respectively, by households with at least one vehicle [1].

Households without vehicles tend to have characteristics different from households with vehicles. For instance, households with total incomes of less than $25,000 are almost 10 times more likely not to have a vehicle when compared with those with incomes greater than $25,000 (figure 32). Though related to income, households in rented residences are five times more likely not to have a vehicle. Household vehicle ownership is also closely related to the number of people living in the household. Eighteen percent of single-person households have no vehicle, as compared with only 4 percent of multiperson households. Furthermore, the unavailability of vehicles in households in urban areas is almost twice that of households in rural areas [1].


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, 2001 National Household Travel Survey, Preliminary Data Release Version 1 (day trip data only), available at, as of January 2003.

1 Personal vehicles include passenger cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, other trucks, recreational vehicles (not including boats), and motorcycles.