Auto Service World
News   February 23, 2024   by Adam Malik

Canadians tap brakes on vehicle usage


Vehicle kilometres travelled by Canadians have fallen back to Earth and substantially subsided, according to new data from AIA Canada.

The Vehicle travel trends in Canada: Q1 2020 to Q4 2023 report shows that Canadians eagerly got behind the wheel in 2022 before tailing off and hitting a four-year quarterly low to close out 2023.

AIA Canada partnered with Inrix, which manages vehicle traffic data, and researcher Clarify Group on the report. It shows median kilometres travelled, number of trips and average distance travelled compared to a baseline — represented as a fraction of what would be expected without a global pandemic.

“This baseline provides us with a ‘typical’ period before COVID-19 so we can observe if, when, and where mobility trends among passenger vehicles are returning to pre-pandemic levels,” the report stated.

Kilometres travelled in Q4 2023 were down 58 per cent from the same time the year before. Even the middle quarters, which cover the summer months, saw significant reduction in kilometres travelled compared to 2022.

The slowdown was attributed to a weakening economy as higher interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll, as well as changing work practices.

“Shorter trip durations compared to other quarters suggests a tendency for drivers to take more local journeys compared to longer drives, especially with work from home,” it added.

It also warned that fears of a recession could result in miles travelled flatlining.

“On the other hand, given that several macroeconomic indicators like employment, immigration, and gross domestic product (GDP) remain stubbornly positive, continued VMT growth remains possible,” the report stated.

The full report includes national and province-by-province breakdowns across the categories as well as further insights. It is available for free to AIA Canada members and $399 for non-members.


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