A recent report by Forbes detailed automobile ownership statistics by state. Surprisingly, New Jersey has one of the lowest car ownership rates in America.

Specifically, the Forbes Advisors examined the states with the lowest percentage of households with at least one vehicle. New Jersey finished in the bottom five at 88.7%. This equates to a ranking of 48 out of 51. Joining the Garden State in this classification were; Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, and the District of Columbia.

The report states, “Between 2017 and 2021, personal and commercial vehicle registrations increased by 3.66%, indicating an upward trend in car ownership. Most U.S. households (91.7%) had at least one vehicle in 2021 (the latest data available), and 22.1% of households had three or more vehicles.”

What Are The Numbers Saying?

To clarify, 88.7% of households have at least one owned vehicle in New Jersey. That is still a high percentage number. To compare, Idaho and Wyoming had the highest rate, finishing at 96.2%. In fact, Wyoming residents were also most likely to own three or more vehicles. New York and the District of Columbia were the bottom two at 71% and 64.3% respectively.

The X Factors

Understandably, some major cities see a lower percentage of car ownership. This is due to other transportation modes, parking, and congestion. There are other indicators that factor in, however. Proximity to metropolitan areas that contain a subway, bus, and bike options allow residents to travel through every part of the city using mass transportation. In fact, the Forbes report shows that the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area of New York and New Jersey reported the lowest rate of car ownership with only 69.63% of households having at least one vehicle. This was followed by: Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey at 87% of households.


Lastly, the cost of car ownership has increased the past few years. “It costs $10,728 a year, or $894 a month, to own and operate a new car, according to AAA,” Forbes says. Although New Jersey was not listed in the highest states for car insurance, that cost is applicable here as well. The report  found that New Jersey is the 2oth most expensive state to own a car. $2,240 is the average cost of full coverage car insurance in the state. $399.61 is the average cost of a light repair.

Considering all of these factors paints a picture of why New Jersey has one of the lowest rate of car ownership in America.