Study: Most Cars Are Left Unused 95 Percent of the Year

While new vehicle sales increased nearly 7 percent in 2021, a study by Turo Canada in partnership with Léger shows that a majority spend a heck of a lot more time parked than on the go.

According to the popular carsharing platform’s first annual Car Ownership Index, 83 percent of Canadians own or lease a vehicle, but they’re behind the wheel for just 400.6 hours per year. In other words, they use it a mere 5 percent of the time. Just over half of them (51 percent) admit to driving less frequently due to the pandemic.

In spite of this, about four out of five owners (81 percent) feel it would be impossible to not have a car, and that same percentage has no plan to stop owning a car in the future. The reasons are always the same: convenience (31 percent), commuting (30 percent) and the desire for freedom (17 percent).

"It's clear that car ownership is still a central part of Canadian life, but these cars largely go unused while costing owners thousands of dollars a year,” says Cedric Mathieu, Vice President and Head of Turo in Canada.

For Canadians, car ownership continues to be a significant expense indeed, costing an average of $4,937 per year when combining monthly payments, car insurance, maintenance, repairs, fuel, parking and more.

Turo claims that its carsharing platform helped owners earn an average of $798 per month from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. You can find them in more than 350 cities in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

A Solution to Accelerate EV Adoption?

Turo’s Car Ownership Index also shows that a majority of Canadians (58 percent) planning to buy or lease a new car will look for either a hybrid or full EV as their next vehicle. This is especially true in Quebec where that proportion jumps to 72 percent.

However, according to the same study, 86 percent of people across the country have never driven an EV, but two-thirds (66 percent) say they'd be more likely to buy one if they had the opportunity to do a test drive for a few days or even a week before making the decision to purchase.

Photo: Frédéric Mercier

"From this study we see that while Canadians understand the importance of buying an electric vehicle, the majority are unwilling to take the next step towards purchasing before trying one," said Christian Bourque, Executive Vice President and Senior Partner at Léger. "It's clear that there's still a knowledge gap when it comes to adoption."

More than 750 of the 55,000+ vehicles currently listed on Turo in Canada are zero-emission models.

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