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Car ownership report

Where in Europe is car ownership the highest and how much does this cost drivers?

Woman in denim top driving a car

A car might seem like a necessity, but this isn’t true for everyone. Vehicle ownership levels vary considerably between different countries. While driving is the only way for some people to get to where they need to be, public transport and walking are more viable for others.

In addition, as people become more conscious of their carbon footprints, cars are becoming a less attractive option for some. Take into account the different income levels in different nations too, and the picture can change a lot.

So, which European nations own the most cars? And where can you pick up a car the cheapest before considering other costs like car insurance?

 

Countries with the most cars per person

Infographic showing top 3 countries for car ownership per 1000 people

1. Luxembourg - 681 cars per 1,000 people

The country with the highest rate of car ownership in Europe is the tiny nation of Luxembourg. Here 681 per 1,000 people own a car.

Luxembourg is a very small country, but it’s also a very rich one, with some of the highest average earnings in the world. This could be why so many people there drive a car.

It may also be due to people living in France, Germany and Belgium but working in Luxembourg and having company cars registered over the border.

2. Italy - 663 cars per 1,000 people

In second place is Italy, with 663 cars per 1,000 people. Italy has a proud history of automobile production, with models such as the iconic Fiat 500 which launched back in the 1950s.

With the country having a well-developed and widespread road network, it was the first country to develop motorways reserved just for fast traffic.

3. Cyprus - 645 cars per 1,000 people

Taking third place is Cyprus, where 645 people in every 1,000 are car owners. Cyprus is a small island country where people largely rely on their cars for getting around.

The car ownership rate in Cyprus stagnated during the early 2010s following the financial crisis, but has recovered in recent years.

Rank Country Cars per 1,000 people
1
Luxembourg
681
2
Italy
663
3
Cyprus
645
4
Poland
642
4
Finland
642
6
Estonia
598
7
Malta
597
8
Germany
574
9
Austria
562
10
Slovenia
556
11
Czech Republic
554
12
Lithuania
536
13
Portugal
530
14
Spain
519
15
Belgium
511
16
Greece
504
17
Netherlands
499
18
France
482
19
Sweden
473
19
United Kingdom
473
21
Denmark
455
22
Republic of Ireland
454
23
Slovakia
439
24
Croatia
425
25
Bulgaria
407
26
Hungary
390
27
Latvia
381
28
Romania
357
29
North Macedonia
205
 

Countries with the most cars per household

Infographic showing top 3 countries for car ownership per household

1. Cyprus - 1.72 cars per household

Having just 1 car to share between a household is a big deal for many families. But for others, having 2 cars parked on the driveway is just the norm. That’s seemingly the case in Cyprus, which has an average of 1.72 cars per household, as well as the third-highest number of cars per person.

2. Poland - 1.67 cars per household

Second place goes to Poland, with 1.67 cars per household in the Central European country.

Poland has also been found to be one of the European countries with the oldest fleets of vehicles. Around a third of the cars on its roads are over 20 years old.

3. Luxembourg - 1.66 cars per household

Right behind Poland is Luxembourg, which was also the country with the highest rate of car ownership per person. Again, this is largely due to Luxembourg being such a wealthy nation with a small population.

Rank Country Total cars Number of households Cars per household
1
Cyprus
572,501
332,100
1.72
2
Poland
24,360,166
14,576,900
1.67
3
Luxembourg
426,346
256,700
1.66
4
Malta
307,130
197,800
1.55
5
Italy
39,545,232
25,991,500
1.52
6
Portugal
5,452,119
4,148,100
1.31
7
Spain
24,558,126
18,765,700
1.31
8
Finland
3,549,803
2,713,300
1.31
9
Slovenia
1,165,371
919,600
1.27
10
Austria
4,978,852
3,949,200
1.26
11
Czech Republic
5,924,995
4,757,500
1.25
12
Estonia
794,926
641,700
1.24
13
Belgium
5,889,210
4,801,900
1.23
14
Republic of Ireland
2,253,210
1,889,500
1.19
15
Slovakia
2,393,577
2,021,400
1.18
16
Croatia
1,724,900
1,471,900
1.17
17
Germany
47,715,977
40,903,800
1.17
18
Greece
5,406,551
4,648,700
1.16
19
Lithuania
1,498,688
1,308,300
1.15
20
Netherlands
8,677,911
7,922,000
1.1
21
United Kingdom
31,517,597
29,000,400
1.09
22
France
32,416,180
30,048,200
1.08
23
Denmark
2,651,726
2,606,900
1.02
24
Bulgaria
2,829,946
2,888,500
0.98
25
Hungary
3,812,013
4,124,500
0.92
26
Romania
6,902,984
7,506,300
0.92
27
Sweden
4,887,116
5,335,100
0.92
28
Latvia
727,164
865,800
0.84
29
North Macedonia
426,045
567,600
0.75
 

Countries with the cheapest average fuel price

Infographic showing top 3 European countries for cost of fuel

1. Hungary - £1.08 per litre

The price of fuel has been on the increase across the world in recent years. But in Europe, it’s at its lowest in Hungary, at just £1.08 per litre.

Hungary’s government recently enforced a price cap on fuel, despite widespread inflation in the country.

2. Malta - £1.15 per litre

In second is Malta, with an average cost of £1.15 per litre when it comes to gasoline.

Like Hungary, Malta’s government has taken steps in recent years to try and combat the rise in petrol prices due to the coronavirus pandemic.

3. Poland - £1.21 per litre

Completing the 3 cheapest countries for fuel prices is Poland, at an average of £1.21 per litre.

Despite fuel prices in Poland reaching their highest levels in years during the pandemic, they remain some of the lowest in the continent.

Rank Country Fuel price per litre
1
Hungary
£1.08
2
Malta
£1.15
3
Poland
£1.21
4
North Macedonia
£1.23
5
Bulgaria
£1.31
6
Cyprus
£1.35
7
Romania
£1.38
8
Croatia
£1.45
9
Slovenia
£1.47
10
Lithuania
£1.50
11
Austria
£1.50
11
Czech Republic
£1.50
13
Slovakia
£1.52
14
Luxembourg
£1.53
15
Republic of Ireland
£1.56
16
Italy
£1.57
17
Latvia
£1.59
18
Spain
£1.61
19
France
£1.62
20
Portugal
£1.64
21
United Kingdom
£1.65
22
Belgium
£1.65
23
Sweden
£1.68
24
Estonia
£1.68
25
Germany
£1.75
26
Netherlands
£1.81
27
Greece
£1.86
28
Finland
£1.89
29
Denmark
£1.90
 

The cheapest countries to buy a new car

Infographic showing cheapest 3 countries in Europe to buy a Toyota Corolla

1. Greece - £15,009

Looking at the cost to buy a new Toyota Corolla (the most popular vehicle in the world), Greece is the cheapest country in Europe, at a cost of just €17,650 (£15,009).

To put that into context, the cheapest Corolla in Denmark costs just over double this, at 266,990 DKK kr. (£30,509).

2. North Macedonia - £15,298

Greece’s neighbours in North Macedonia pay a similar price for the same model, at a cost of €17,990 (£15,298), around £300 more.

3. Finland - £15,466

Completing the 3 cheapest countries when it comes to buying a new Toyota Corolla is the Northern European country of Finland. Here, drivers have to pay €18,187, equal to around £15,466.

Rank Country Local currency GBP
1
Greece
€17,650
£15,009
2
North Macedonia
€17,990
£15,298
3
Finland
€18,187
£15,466
4
Hungary
Ft 7,170,000
£15,798
5
Slovenia
€19,250
£16,370
6
Slovakia
€19,490
£16,574
7
Cyprus
€19,500
£16,582
8
Portugal
€20,000
£17,007
9
Estonia
€20,250
£17,220
10
Poland
103,900 zł
£18,829
11
Spain
€22,700
£19,303
12
Sweden
242,900 SEK kr
£19,716
13
Romania
€23,450
£19,941
14
Czech Republic
582,900 Kč
£20,023
15
Austria
€24,190
£20,571
16
Bulgaria
lev 47,750
£20,761
17
Croatia
kn 186,900
£21,124
18
Italy
€24,900
£21,174
19
Luxembourg
€24,945
£21,213
20
France
€25,800
£21,940
21
Belgium
€25,900
£22,025
22
Lithuania
€25,950
£22,067
22
Latvia
€25,950
£22,067
24
Germany
€26,650
£22,662
25
Malta
€26,995
£22,956
26
Netherlands
€27,695
£23,551
27
Republic of Ireland
€28,430
£24,176
28
United Kingdom
€26,365
£26,365
29
Denmark
266,990 DKK kr.
£30,509

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:

“The car is synonymous with modern-day life in a number of different countries, including the UK. Today, we rely on cars more than ever. Infrastructures are now typically built with the car in mind, and thus the emergence of the vehicle has changed the greater landscape for many.

“Although owning a car may be a necessity for some, this isn’t the case for everybody, with public transport frequently being favoured across the globe. In countries such as Luxembourg, car possession stands at 681 cars, per 1,000 people. On the flip side, in North Macedonia, this figure reaches only 205.

“Car ownership can be seen as a luxury, but can also be essential for commuting, visiting family and fulfilling voids in public transport. When purchasing a new car it’s important to consider each cost associated, from the initial purchase price, to average fuel prices and car insurance premiums. It’s always a good idea to shop around to source the best deal!”

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