How many cars are there actually on the roads of Europe? Which countries have the most cars? Which countries have the highest per capita ratio? And have you ever wondered how old these vehicles are and which fuels are used?

To answer these questions, there are now the new figures for 2024 from Acea, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, although they refer to the year 2022 and could satisfy any curiosity. So let's start with the figures ...

How many cars are on the road in Europe?

Let's start with the countries of the enlarged Europe (EU+EFTA+UK, excluding Bulgaria and Malta), where the most cars are on the road. The ranking starts with a continental figure of 297,170,530 vehicles, up 1% on 2021.

At the top of the list of countries with the most cars is Germany with 48,763,036 units (+0.5 % compared to 2021), ahead of Italy with 40,213,061 cars (+1.0 %) and France with 38,856,492 vehicles (+0.1 %). Also noteworthy is the continued growth of Poland, which overtook Spain in 2022 to take fifth place in the ranking.

Le auto in circolazione in Europa

Transport in Berlin

At the bottom of the list are smaller or less populous countries such as Cyprus (601,131), Luxembourg (448,454) and Iceland (236,824).

Number of cars on the roads:

  1. Germany - 48,763,036
  2. Italy - 40,213,061
  3. France - 38,856,492
  4. United Kingdom - 37,050,775
  5. Poland - 26,457,659
  6. Spain - 25,644,595
  7. Netherlands - 9,233,107
  8. Czech Republic - 6,425,417
  9. Romania - 7,865,186
  10. Belgium - 5,877,949
  11. Portugal - 5,560,000
  12. Greece - 5,495,927
  13. Austria - 5,150,890
  14. Sweden - 4,980,543
  15. Switzerland - 4,768,843
  16. Hungary - 4,091,975
  17. Norway - 2,876,313
  18. Denmark - 2,794,055
  19. Finland - 2,740,393
  20. Slovakia - 2,721,252
  21. Ireland - 2,292,748
  22. Croatia - 1,836,016
  23. Lithuania - 1,347,548
  24. Slovenia - 1,221,702
  25. Estonia - 849,294
  26. Latvia - 769,345
  27. Cyprus - 601,131
  28. Luxembourg - 448,454
  29. Iceland - 236,824

Car density in a country comparison

Perhaps the most interesting figure, however, is the number of cars per inhabitant, i.e. how many cars there are in the various European countries in relation to the population. The European average in 2022 is 570 cars per 1,000 inhabitants, but there are countries that have many more cars per 1,000 inhabitants.

Autos auf der Straße in Europa

Cars on Polish roads in Warsaw

Somewhat surprisingly and with a remarkable growth in recent years, Poland leads this ranking with 703 cars per 1,000 inhabitants or 1.42 inhabitants per car, while Luxembourg remains at the top with 695 cars per 1,000 inhabitants (1.43 inhabitants per car). Italy is in third place with 681 (1.46 inhabitants/car).

Number of cars per 1,000 inhabitants:

  1. Poland - 703
  2. Luxembourg - 695
  3. Italy - 681
  4. Cyprus - 664
  5. Estonia - 638
  6. Iceland - 629
  7. Czech Republic - 611
  8. Germany - 586
  9. Slovenia - 580
  10. Austria - 574
  11. EU average - 574
  12. France - 572
  13. Average EU+EFTA+UK - 570
  14. United Kingdom - 549
  15. Switzerland - 546
  16. EFTA average - 542
  17. Spain - 541
  18. Portugal - 537
  19. Norway - 530
  20. Greece - 525
  21. Netherlands - 525
  22. Belgium - 506
  23. Slovakia - 501
  24. Finland - 494
  25. Lithuania - 480
  26. Sweden - 477
  27. Denmark - 476
  28. Croatia - 475
  29. Ireland - 453
  30. Hungary - 422
  31. Romania - 413
  32. Latvia - 410

The countries with the lowest car density include Hungary with 422 cars per 1,000 inhabitants (2.37 inhabitants/car), Romania with 413 cars (2.42 inhabitants/car) and finally Latvia with 410 cars per 1,000 inhabitants (2.44 inhabitants/car).

How old are the cars on average?

If we take a closer look at the Acea data, we find the average age of cars in the different European countries. This particular ranking of markets with the oldest cars is led by Greece with an average age of 17.3 years, followed by Estonia (16.6 years) and the Czech Republic (15.9 years). In contrast, the EU average is 12.3 years.

Le auto in circolazione in Europa

An old Volkswagen Beetle on a street in Athens

Average age of cars on the roads:

  1. Greece - 17.3 years
  2. Estonia - 16.6 years
  3. Czech Republic - 15.9 years
  4. Latvia - 15.2 years
  5. Poland - 14.9 years
  6. Romania - 14.9 years
  7. Lithuania - 14.7 years
  8. Slovakia - 14.7 years
  9. Hungary - 14.6 years
  10. Spain - 13.9 years
  11. Portugal - 13.6 years
  12. Croatia - 13.3 years
  13. Finland - 12.9 years
  14. Italy - 12.5 years
  15. EU average - 12.3 years
  16. Iceland - 12.0 years
  17. Netherlands - 11.7 years
  18. Slovenia - 11.2 years
  19. France - 10.8 years
  20. Norway - 10.8 years
  21. Sweden - 10.7 years
  22. United Kingdom - 10.3 years
  23. Germany - 10.0 years
  24. Switzerland - 10.0 years
  25. Belgium - 9.8 years
  26. Ireland - 9.1 years
  27. Austria - 8.9 years
  28. Denmark - 8.9 years
  29. Luxembourg - 7.9 years

The newest cars are on the road in Luxembourg, a country with a vehicle fleet with an average age of just 7.9 years. But Denmark and Austria also stand out for the freshness of the cars on their roads - both with 8.9 years.

The country with the most cars over ten years old

Slightly different, but still based on the age of the cars on the road, is the next ranking of countries with the most cars over ten years old in absolute terms. Here Italy wins with almost 24 million cars over ten years old on the road, followed by Germany with almost 22 million and Poland with 21 million.

Le auto in circolazione in Europa

An old Fiat 500 in Rome

Cars on the road that are over 10 years old:

  1. Italy - 23,819,479
  2. Germany - 21,947,427
  3. Poland - 21,393,509
  4. France - 20,385,505
  5. Spain - 16,237,639
  6. United Kingdom - 15,900,749
  7. Romania - 6,362,815
  8. Netherlands - 4,684,379
  9. Greece - 4,506,033
  10. Czech Republic - 4,291,380
  11. Portugal - 3,472,737
  12. Hungary - 3,026,224
  13. Sweden - 2,305,174
  14. Austria - 2,291,833
  15. Belgium - 2,068,592
  16. Switzerland - 2,031,577
  17. Slovakia - 1,797,147
  18. Finland - 1,573,670
  19. Norway - 1,289,250
  20. Croatia - 1,237,593
  21. Lithuania - 1,031,413
  22. Ireland - 889,793
  23. Denmark - 795,496
  24. Slovenia - 660,662
  25. Estonia - 598,105
  26. Latvia - 594,095
  27. Cyprus - 401,805
  28. Luxembourg - 117,826
  29. Iceland - 85,065

The markets where there are fewer cars older than ten years are Cyprus, Luxembourg and Iceland.

The most popular fuel types in Europe 

Another very interesting part of the new Acea report relates to the prevalence of different fuels on the roads of the various European countries. Let's take a look at the individual statistics, starting with the continental figure and then moving on to the market shares by country.

So the first ranking shows that in the enlarged Europe of 29 countries (EU+UK+EFTA), the most popular vehicles on the roads are still petrol cars with 50.6% of the total. Followed by diesel vehicles with 40.8 %. Hybrid drives are in third place, followed by LPG bi-fuel vehicles, while electric cars are only in fifth place with a market share of 1.2 %.

European Union (market share):

  1. Petrol - 50.6 %
  2. Diesel - 40.8 %
  3. Mild and full hybrid - 3.1 %
  4. LPG - 2.6 %
  5. Electric - 1.2 %
  6. Plug-in hybrid - 1.0 %
  7. Natural gas - 0.6 %
  8. Other - 0.1 %
  9. Not identified - 0.1 %

Petrol-powered cars

What is the market with the most petrol cars on the road? According to Acea data, almost 90% of vehicles in Greece have a petrol engine under the bonnet, followed by the Netherlands and Cyprus, with Norway and Lithuania in last place.

Le auto in circolazione in Europa

An old petrol pump

Petrol (market share):

  1. Greece - 89.6 %
  2. Netherlands - 78.2 %
  3. Cyprus - 74.8 %
  4. Finland - 67.6 %
  5. Switzerland - 63.4 %
  6. Hungary - 63.1
  7. Germany - 62.7
  8. Denmark - 61.7
  9. United Kingdom - 58.1 %
  10. Czech Republic - 57.1
  11. Romania - 54.9
  12. Estonia - 54.4
  13. Belgium - 53.1
  14. Slovakia - 50.0
  15. Sweden - 49.9
  16. Slovenia - 46.2
  17. Iceland - 45.6
  18. Poland - 44.6
  19. Italy - 44.0
  20. Luxembourg - 43.3
  21. Austria - 42.6
  22. France - 40.4
  23. Spain - 39.5
  24. Croatia - 39.0
  25. Portugal - 36.5
  26. Ireland - 36.1
  27. Latvia - 31.3
  28. Norway - 28.7
  29. Lithuania - 24.8

Diesel vehicles

Two Baltic countries share the sceptre of the diesel kings, with Latvia just ahead of Lithuania and Portugal with a 65.8% market share. The Netherlands and Greece, on the other hand, do not seem to like diesel vehicles.

Autos auf der Straße in Europa

A diesel petrol pump nozzle

Diesel (market share):

  1. Latvia - 65.8 %
  2. Lithuania - 63.5 %
  3. Portugal - 58.8 %
  4. Croatia - 56.0 %
  5. Ireland - 55.8 %
  6. Spain - 55.7
  7. France - 53.0
  8. Austria - 51.5
  9. Slovenia - 50.7
  10. Luxembourg - 45.4
  11. Slovakia - 43.8
  12. Romania - 42.2
  13. Italy - 42.1
  14. Estonia - 41.5
  15. Poland - 39.5
  16. Norway - 38.5
  17. Belgium - 39.3
  18. Czech Republic - 39.3
  19. United Kingdom - 34.7
  20. Sweden - 33.5
  21. Iceland - 33.0
  22. Hungary - 31.6
  23. Germany - 29.6
  24. Switzerland - 28.1
  25. Denmark - 26.6
  26. Finland - 26.3
  27. Cyprus - 21.5
  28. Netherlands - 9.8
  29. Greece - 8.7 %

Electric cars

The only European market in which electric cars have a very high market share is still Norway with 20.8 %, followed by Iceland (7.3 %) and Denmark and Sweden with 4.0 % each. Cyprus and Greece bring up the rear in terms of locally emission-free cars with 0.1% each.

Autos auf der Straße in Europa

Charging an electric car

Electric cars (market share):

  1. Norway - 20.8 %
  2. Iceland - 7.3 %
  3. Denmark - 4.0 %
  4. Sweden - 4.0 %
  5. Netherlands - 3.7 %
  6. Luxembourg - 3.1
  7. Switzerland - 2.3
  8. Austria - 2.1
  9. Germany - 2.1
  10. United Kingdom - 2.1 %.
  11. Finland - 1.6 %
  12. Ireland - 1.6 %
  13. Belgium - 1.5 %
  14. France - 1.5 %
  15. Portugal - 0.9 %
  16. Hungary - 0.7
  17. Slovenia - 0.6 %
  18. Latvia - 0.5
  19. Lithuania - 0.5
  20. Estonia - 0.4
  21. Italy - 0.4
  22. Spain - 0.4
  23. Croatia - 0.3
  24. Romania - 0.3
  25. Czech Republic
  26. Poland - 0.2
  27. Slovakia - 0.2
  28. Cyprus - 0.1 %
  29. Greece - 0.1 %

Plug-in hybrid

The European leader in plug-in hybrid vehicles is Scandinavia, with Iceland in first place (8.4%), followed by Norway and Sweden. At the bottom of the list are countries such as Austria and Italy, where there are practically no cars on the road.

Le auto in circolazione in Europa

Plug-in hybrid vehicles

Plug-in hybrids (market share):

  1. Iceland - 8.4 %
  2. Norway - 6.8 %
  3. Sweden - 4.8 %
  4. Denmark - 3.8 %
  5. Finland - 3.8 %
  6. Belgium - 3.0
  7. Luxembourg - 2.7
  8. Netherlands - 2.1
  9. Germany - 1.8
  10. Switzerland - 1.4
  11. Ireland - 1.2
  12. France - 1.1 %
  13. United Kingdom - 1.1 %
  14. Portugal - 1.0
  15. Hungary - 0.6 %
  16. Spain - 0.5
  17. Lithuania - 0.3
  18. Poland - 0.2
  19. Slovakia - 0.2
  20. Slovenia - 0.2
  21. Croatia - 0.1
  22. Greece - 0.1
  23. Latvia - 0.1
  24. Czech Republic - 0.1
  25. Romania - 0.1
  26. Austria - 0.0%.
  27. Cyprus - 0.0%
  28. Estonia - 0.0%
  29. Italy - 0.0%

Mild and full hybrid vehicles

The proportion of mild and full hybrid vehicles in circulation in the various European countries is also rather low, but Luxembourg, Iceland and Norway are at the top of the list. Finland, on the other hand, closes the ranking with 0.0 per cent.

Autos auf der Straße in Europa

Full hybrid vehicles

Mild and full hybrid vehicles (market share):

  1. Luxembourg - 5.4 per cent
  2. Iceland - 5.1 %
  3. Norway - 5.1 %
  4. Ireland - 5.0
  5. Netherlands - 4.9
  6. Switzerland - 4.6
  7. Lithuania - 4.2
  8. Denmark - 3.9
  9. Italy - 3.9
  10. United Kingdom - 3.8 %
  11. Austria - 3.7 %
  12. Spain - 3.6
  13. Sweden - 3.5
  14. Cyprus - 3.4
  15. Estonia - 3.4
  16. France - 3.3
  17. Hungary - 3.2
  18. Germany - 3.0
  19. Poland - 2.4
  20. Belgium - 2.1
  21. Slovakia - 2.0
  22. Slovenia - 1.7
  23. Portugal - 1.6
  24. Croatia - 1.3
  25. Latvia - 1.3
  26. Greece - 1.2
  27. Romania - 0.8
  28. Czech Republic - 0.1
  29. Finland - 0.0 %

Natural gas cars

Italy is the country with the most natural gas cars on the road (2.4%), followed at some distance by Sweden and Iceland. The most striking figure, however, is that the market share is zero in more than half of the European countries.

Seat Arona 1.0 TGI

Natural gas refuelling

Natural gas (market share):

  1. Italy - 2.4 %
  2. Sweden - 0.8 %
  3. Iceland - 0.7 %
  4. Finland - 0.6 %
  5. France - 0.6 %
  6. Czech Republic - 0.4
  7. Belgium - 0.3
  8. Estonia - 0.3
  9. Germany - 0.2
  10. Switzerland - 0.2
  11. Greece - 0.1
  12. Netherlands - 0.1
  13. Slovakia - 0.1
  14. Spain - 0.1
  15. Austria - 0.0
  16. Croatia - 0.0
  17. Cyprus - 0.0
  18. Denmark - 0.0
  19. Ireland - 0.0
  20. Latvia - 0.0
  21. Lithuania - 0.0
  22. Luxembourg - 0.0
  23. Poland - 0.0 %
  24. Portugal - 0.0
  25. Romania - 0.0
  26. Slovenia - 0.0
  27. Norway - 0.0 %
  28. United Kingdom - 0.0 %
  29. Hungary - 0.0 %

LPG cars

Poland is the LPG king, while Italy and Croatia take second and third place in the rankings. In many countries, however, cars that run on LPG are unknown.

Betankung von LPG-Fahrzeugen

LPG refuelling

LPG (market share):

  1. Poland - 13.1 %
  2. Italy - 7.2 %
  3. Croatia - 3.3 %
  4. Slovakia - 1.9 %
  5. Czech Republic - 1.6 %
  6. Netherlands - 1.1
  7. Germany - 0.7
  8. Hungary - 0.7
  9. Slovenia - 0.5
  10. Romania - 0.4
  11. Belgium - 0.3
  12. Spain - 0.3
  13. Latvia - 0.2
  14. Lithuania - 0.2
  15. Austria - 0.1
  16. Greece - 0.1
  17. Luxembourg - 0.1
  18. Cyprus - 0.0
  19. Denmark - 0.0
  20. Estonia - 0.0
  21. Finland - 0.0 %
  22. France - 0.0
  23. Ireland - 0.0
  24. Portugal - 0.0 %
  25. United Kingdom - 0.0 %
  26. Sweden - 0.0 %
  27. Iceland - 0.0 %
  28. Norway - 0.0 %
  29. Switzerland - 0.0 %

Cars with other fuels

The statistics on "other fuels" include hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, ethanol blends such as E85, biofuels and the still very rare e-fuels. These figures show that Sweden is in first place with a 3.6 per cent market share, which is due to the large number of E85-powered cars on the roads. In other countries, these alternative fuels are practically unknown.

I biocarburanti

Biofuels

Other (market share):

  1. Sweden - 3.6 %
  2. Portugal - 1.0 %
  3. Ireland - 0.3 %
  4. Lithuania - 0.3 %
  5. Finland - 0.2 %
  6. Cyprus - 0.1
  7. Latvia - 0.1%
  8. Netherlands - 0.1
  9. United Kingdom - 0.1
  10. Austria - 0.0
  11. Belgium - 0.0
  12. Croatia - 0.0
  13. Denmark - 0.0
  14. Estonia - 0.0
  15. France - 0.0
  16. Germany - 0.0
  17. Greece - 0.0
  18. Iceland - 0.0
  19. Italy - 0.0 
  20. Luxembourg - 0.0
  21. Norway - 0.0
  22. Poland - 0.0
  23. Czech Republic - 0.0
  24. Romania - 0.0
  25. Slovakia - 0.0 
  26. Slovenia - 0.0 
  27. Spain - 0.0 %
  28. Switzerland - 0.0
  29. Hungary - 0.0

An elaboration by Motor1.com from  Acea data