Report: U.S. Car Ownership Rate Reaches Highest Figure Since 2008

Man happy with his carA University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute report showed that car ownership in the U.S. rose to its highest figure since 2008, based on per household and per person rates.

Americans have bought more vehicles partly because of a wider array of options. Even with the onset of electric cars, gas prices in the country are expected to increase in 2018.

Ownership Rates

In 2016, car ownership rates per person and per household increased to 0.766 and 1.968 year over year, according to the report. Both increases marked a four- and three-year growth streak, respectively. The peak growth occurred in 2006, when each household owned 2.05 cars, while there were 0.79 cars per person on average.

The bigger household ownership rate indicated that more families may have sought ways to maximize the space in their garage. JMC Equipment notes that these may include the installation of a BendPak 4-post lift.

By contrast, the mileage driven have fallen in 2016. Per-household and per-person miles fell to more than 9,300 miles and more than 24,300 miles, respectively. Americans may have driven for shorter distances due to the increase in fuel prices and the launch of electric cars, which could mostly be used for short-distance travel.

Rising Gas Prices

Gas prices in the U.S. will amount to $2.57 per gallon of self-serve fuel this year, based on a forecast. It rose from the average rate last year at $2.39. The increase means that a typical household will likely spend almost $1,900 on fuel in 2018. Overall spending may reach $364.6 billion.

Car owners in the East and West Coast will particularly notice higher prices. In San Francisco, for instance, the price of a self-serve unleaded fuel may cost as much as $3.95 per gallon.

The increase in car ownership rates bodes well for the car industry, but Americans who still use gas-powered cars may need to limit their time on the road due to higher fuel prices.