More and more cars in Germany: Car density reaches new peak

More and more cars in Germany: Car density reaches new peak

Despite efforts to promote climate-friendly transport in Germany, and record-high fuel prices, the number of cars on German roads has never been so high. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), households increasingly have more than one car. 

Car density continues to rise in Germany

The number of cars in Germany continues to grow each year, Destatis reported this week. Using figures on car registrations from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) and its own calculations, Destatis announced that in 2021 Germany reached a new record car density of 580 cars per 1.000 inhabitants. In 2011, there were 517 cars per 1.000 people. 

“The reason for the increase in car density is that the number of cars registered in Germany has increased significantly more than the population in the period mentioned,” the statisticians at Destatis explained. 

As of January 1, 2022, 48,5 million passenger cars were registered in Germany, the highest number ever recorded and a significant increase from the 48,2 million registered at the beginning of 2021. 

The figures show that more and more people are opting for electric vehicles when buying a new car: for newly-registered cars between January and July 2022, 13,6 percent were electric, compared to just 0,6 percent the year before. 

More cars in western Germany, and more households with multiple vehicles

Further analysis shows that some regions of Germany are much more motor-happy than others. The western federal states of Saarland (658 cars per 1.000 inhabitants), Rhineland-Palatinate (632) and Bavaria (622) have some of the highest car ownership rates in the country.

At the other end of the scale, Berlin (337), Hamburg (435) and Bremen (438) have the lowest. As Destatis explains, the lower car ownership rates in large German cities can be explained by the density of public transport networks in these places. 

77 percent of households owned at least one car in 2021 - not far off the figure for 2011, which was 77,89 percent. The reason for the growth in car density can therefore be explained by the increasing number of households that have two or more vehicles. The proportion of households with two cars has risen from 23,4 to 27,0 percent within 10 years, while the proportion with three or more cars has risen from 3,7 to 6,1 percent. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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