Number of licensed vehicles drops


The number of vehicles licensed in the State has fallen for the first time in almost 30 years, figures from the Department of Transport have revealed.

According to the data, some 2.4 million vehicles were licensed in the State at the end of last year, a drop of 1.2 per cent on the previous year, the first recorded decrease since 1982.

The department's Irish Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics, published today, said the drop in the number of vehicles on the road was “most likely as a result of the recession”.

By the end of last year, learner drivers accounted for just under 11 per cent of all motorists with more than 286,000 permit holders.

In 2009, a total of 73,125 new vehicles and 76,264 imported used vehicles were licensed, marking a decrease of 62 per cent and 13 per cent respectively on the previous year’s figures.

Engines with a capacity of one to two litres proved most popular for private motorists, accounting for 85 per cent of the total vehicles registered.

Less than 1 per cent of cars had an engine capacity of more than three litres. However, the figures showed the number of cars in the Sports Utility Vehicles class had tripled to nearly 14,000 since 2001.

Half the privately-owned car fleet of 1,882,901 was over six years old, with 1,229,328 four years or older.

In the goods vehicles category, the number of vehicles fell by 7,367 units or 2.1 per cent last year, with six or more year-old vehicles accounting for 40 per cent, with 57 per cent over four years old.

The figures also show that nearly two-thirds of vehicles on Irish roads had a petrol engine with the other third using diesel and 3,449 running on liquid petroleum gas and other fuels.

Tractor sales increased by 20 per cent rise to 80,239 while the number of motorbikes registered rose by almost 10 per cent to 37,178.