For over a hundred years, the private car has transformed modern society by providing independence and freedom of mobility. Cars are our number one source of mobility, taking the average European almost 13,000 kilometres a year.
Why are cars so important?
- Over 70% of journeys are made by car – be it private car, taxi or carsharing.
- Mobility is becoming more and more important due to ever-increasing distances between home, work, educational institutions, shopping and leisure facilities.
- Without individual mobility, adequate participation in social and economic life would not be possible in many cases, particularly for people living in remote areas, the elderly and those with disabilities.
- People living in urban areas may rely on taxis, carsharing or on-demand services instead of, or as a complement to, their own private car.
- Europe's cars are the cleanest, safest and quietest in the world.
- The average car engine emits 28 times less carbon monoxide than 20 years ago.
- In 2015, average new car emissions were 119.6g CO2/km compared to 186g CO2/km in 1995 – a 36% decrease in just two decades.
- Noise from passenger cars has been reduced by 90% since 1970.
- There are 253 million cars on Europe’s roads today – their average age is close to 10 years.
- Some 5.7 million European cars were exported worldwide in 2015, worth over €129 billion.
- Alternative fuel cars (electric, natural gas, LPG) represent 5.5% of the total EU fleet, and 4.2% of new passenger car registrations in 2016.
- The budgets of the EU member states receive €350 billion per year from the production and use of passenger cars – this represents about 8% of the total tax revenue in the EU28.
Explore our fact sheet on cars for more interesting figures and to learn how cars are exactly defined under the European classification system.