While Majority of Canadians Own Cars, Few Drive Them: Turo

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Turo Canada, in partnerships with Léger, released its Car Ownership Index study analyzing the state of car ownership in Canada.

The report reveals that while 83 per cent of Canadians own or lease a vehicle, their cars sit idle 95 per cent of the year. That means on average, Canadian car owners are behind the wheel for just 400.6 hours per year. This is down only slightly from a similar study Turo conducted in 2019, which found that cars sat idle 96 per cent of the year and driven for just 380 hours annually.

Despite using their vehicle so infrequently, 81 per cent of car owners 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. Among the reasons to have a car, convenience is most important (31 per cent), followed by commuting (30 per cent), and the desire for freedom (17 per cent). However, car ownership continues to be a significant expense for Canadians, costing an average of $4,937 per year.

“Our findings shed light on a paradox when it comes to car ownership,” said Cedric Mathieu, vice-president and head of Turo in Canada. “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. Car ownership is an inefficient model, but the alternatives are limited for Canadians who still need access to a vehicle.”

COVID-19 has not had a significant impact on Canadians’ car buying intentions. Eight-one per cent said that the pandemic has not affected their decision to get a car, while 12 per cent are less likely to do so. That said, they’re driving less, with 51 per cent using their car less frequently due to the pandemic.

When Canadians return to the office, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of employed respondents will be taking their personal car, while 14 per cent will be taking public transit. Nine per cent are either unsure of how they’ll be commuting for work, or don’t commute at all. Eighty-seven per cent of respondents that know their preferred method of transportation for commuting to work said that preference has not changed due to the pandemic.