2009 Canadian Vehicle Survey Summary Report

Executive summary

The Canadian Vehicle Survey (CVS) is a voluntary, vehicle-based survey that provides quarterly and annual estimates of road vehicle activity (vehicle-kilometres [VKM] and passenger-kilometres [PKM] of vehicles registered in Canada.

This summary report describes the characteristics of Canada's vehicle fleet and patterns in vehicle use and fuel consumption.

The principal findings from the 2009 CVS include the following:

  • The fuel consumption rate remained relatively constant between 2005 and 2009 for light vehicles that use gasoline (10.6 to 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres [L/100 km]). For light vehicles that use diesel fuel, the rate decreased 6.8 percent, from 11.4 to 10.6 L/100 km between 2005 and 2009. Gasoline-powered vehicles constituted 96.9 percent of the light vehicles, while diesel-powered vehicles represented only 2.9 percent.
  • Fuel consumption rates decreased for medium trucks between 2005 and 2009. The rate for gasoline-powered trucks went from 26.6 to 25.1 L/100 km, and the rate for diesel-powered trucks went from 26.4 to 24.4 L/100 km.
  • The fuel consumption rate for heavy trucks that use diesel also decreased from 35.1 L/100 km in 2005 to 33.4 L/100 km in 2009. This decrease occurred almost entirely between 2008 and 2009. In fact, the fuel consumption rate of diesel-powered trucks rose between 2006 and 2008.
  • Alberta's light vehicle fleet is growing quickly. From 2000 to 2009, the number of light vehicles in Alberta iincreased at an average annual growth rate of 3.5 percent while the Canadian average was 1.9 percent. Alberta also has the highest provincial rate of ownership of light vehicles per household. Alberta's average fuel consumption rate is the third-highest provincial rate, and the average distance travelled for light vehicles is the third-highest provincial rate.
  • Between 2000 and 2009, there was a significant change in the composition of the light vehicle fleet. The share of the light truck category (vans, sport utility vehicles [SUVs] and pickup trucks) increased substantially relative to the share of cars. Most notably, the number of SUVs almost doubled, and their share of the light vehicle fleet increased from 6.9 percent to 12.8 percent. Meanwhile, the share of cars decreased from 60.5 percent to 55.4 percent, while the share of station wagons increased by 1 percentage point to reach 3.5 percent in 2009.
  • In 2009, there were 1.47 vehicles per household on average, which is an increase from 1.43 in 2000. Meanwhile, the average distance travelled for each light vehicle decreased from 16 944 to 15 336 km over the same period.