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Number of private cars on our roads hits two million


Toyota is the most popular marque of car in Ireland

Toyota is the most popular marque of car in Ireland

Toyota is the most popular marque of car in Ireland

The number of cars on Irish roads has reached record levels.

A surge in new car sales last year - the highest since 2008 - means there are some 1,985,000 private cars licensed across the State, with Toyota the most popular marque.

The growth comes amid growing concern about congestion and as the State faces legally-binding targets to reduce transport emissions to help prevent dangerous climate change.

But the Department of Transport's 'Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics' shows that few motorists are making the switch to less-polluting vehicles - just over 21,000 cars are electric or hybrid, less than 1pc of the national fleet. In addition, some 53pc of cars have more-polluting diesel engines, and almost 70pc are six years old or older. These tend to be less efficient and more polluting than newer models.

The bulletin also reveals the total number of licensed vehicles in the country stands at 2.57 million, up almost 55,000 on 2014 (2.2pc).

There are 1,985,130 private cars, up 40,000 (2.1pc), 330,541 goods vehicles, 82,046 agricultural tractors and 36,974 motorcycles.

In 2015, some 153,850 new vehicles were licensed, an increase of 36,198 (31pc) on 2014. Some 62,673 imported used vehicles were licensed, down 11pc.

The highest number of cars is in Dublin at 304,500, followed by Cork (143,786) and Galway (64,113). The lowest number is in Leitrim at 7,802. The most popular marques are Toyota (285,562), Volkswagen (243,075) and Ford (233,605).

There are also fewer high-end luxury cars in the fleet - in 2014, there were 40 Ferraris, which has dropped to 35. There were three Lamborghinis, which fell to two; 12 Rolls Royces, which fell to eight; and 51 Lotuses, which dropped to 50. However, in 2014 there were 76 Maseratis, which has increased to 91.

There were 2.76 million current driving licences at the end of last year, of which 91.3pc were full licences. There were 240,442 learner permit licences.

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