After years of increases in the total number of vehicles registered and vehicle miles traveled (VMT), both figures dropped by 1.8 percent and 2.3 percent from 2018 to 2019, respectively. The number of vehicles registered actually dropped by another 5.9 percent or 1.8 million in 2020, which may be due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic; VMT is also expected to drop significantly. GHG emissions also dropped at a similar level (-1.9%) from 2018 to 2019 and is likewise expected to drop significantly in 2020. 59
59 U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions from transportation declined 15 percent in 2020 nationwide. Energy-related CO2 emissions account for most of the GHG emissions in the U.S. Source: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=47496
By vehicle class, registrations of sports utility vehicles and pickups increased 3.3 percent from 2018 to 2019 and 9.0 percent from 2019 to 2020. On the other hand, registrations of cars and sedans have been falling for years—down 5.7 percent from 2018 to 2019 and 17.5 percent from 2019 to 2020. The continuous consumer shift from smaller (more fuel-efficient) vehicles to larger (less fuel-efficient) vehicles could reduce the overall fuel economy of the statewide fleet. Furthermore, the declines in number of vehicles registered and VMT are expected to be transitory and may increase again after the pandemic and the pandemic-induced supply chain roadblocks are resolved.