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Cars Sit Idle 96% of the Time in Canada

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Rush hours traffic jams feel like they’re getting worse, and increasingly spilling beyond just rush hours? The fact remains that on average Canadian motorists only use their vehicle 4% of the time. This is according to a new survey carried out by Angus Reid Global in collaboration with car-sharing company Turo.

In absolute terms, that means a Canadian car is on the road an average of 380 hours per year; conversely, it spends the other 8,380 hours sitting idle, unused.

We should clarify that the 380 hours total represents an average, and is likely a conservative estimate. For example, a typical motorist who spends between 10 and 15 hours every week commuting and running errands, and then does a weekend outing or two, will rack up between 15 and 20 hours in their vehicle per week. Over the course of a year, that works out to between 750 and 800 hours of driving.  

But even using that figure, it still means the average car in Canada is only active 10% of the time.

And that’s very little, given the investment.

More interesting data
The study sheds light on other habits and preferences demonstrated by Canadian consumers. We learn, for example, that 84% of Canadians own a vehicle; of those who don’t, 9% say they want one. And 37% of Canadians own more than one vehicle.

Young Canadians aged between 18 and 34 who fewer vehicles than any other demographic, but they’re also the ones who express the greatest interest in owning one.

One remarkable fact: over half of Canadian say they have an emotional attachment to their vehicle, and 61% live with the hop of one day buying their dream car. Tellingly, for fully 20% of the 18-to-34 age group, that dream car carries the Tesla badge.

Often idle
For all the love Canadians evidently show for their ride, the study’s results are categorical: most of the time our cars sit idle. One out of five owners uses theirs fewer than two hours per week on average. More than 60% of vehicle owners don’t get behind the wheel every day.

Be that as it may, for three out of four Canadians, life without a car is not something they can conceive of. That figure does vary significantly depending on whether survey responders live in an urban or rural environment.

Are Canadians big spenders when it comes to their beloved but little-used vehicles? The average price of a new vehicle sold in Canada is $27,236. On average, vehicle owners makes $5,149 in payments on their car every year, while the average annual cost of car insurance is $1,500.

Photo: Toyota