Vehicle mileage not yet back at pre-pandemic level

Lorries with cars driving across the A16. In the foreground daisies on the verge.
© ANP / Branko de Lang
In 2021, Dutch motor vehicles, with the exception of motorcycles and mopeds, travelled a total distance of nearly 134 billion kilometres in the Netherlands and abroad. This is almost 5 percent more than in 2020, but 11 percent less than in 2019. Especially passenger transport vehicles (passenger cars, buses and coaches) covered less mileage than before the coronavirus pandemic. Compared to the last pre-pandemic year, vehicles for the carriage of goods drove the same distance (HVGs) or in fact a longer distance (delivery vans). This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Total kilometres travelled by Dutch motor vehicles
JaartalPassenger cars (bn km)Delivery vans (bn km)HGVs (bn km)Buses/coaches (bn km)

In 2021, the bulk (78 percent) of vehicle kilometres were driven in passenger cars. They travelled altogether 4.8 billion more kilometres than one year previously, but still 16.8 billion fewer compared to 2019.

Despite the fact that in 2021 the passenger car fleet grew by 2 percent relative to two years previously, during this period the average annual mileage decreased by 16 percent to 11 thousand km per passenger car.

Sharp drop in bus mileage compared to 2019

In 2021, Dutch buses and coaches travelled altogether 497 million km. Of this distance, 86 percent was on account of scheduled buses; the remainder were coaches. In pre-pandemic 2019, the total bus mileage was still 661 million km. The drop in bus kilometres by nearly 25 percent between 2019 and 2021 was largely related to fewer scheduled buses (-9 percent) and coaches (-21 percent).

In addition, in 2021 coaches on average travelled less than half the kilometres compared to 2019. On the other hand, scheduled buses covered more or less the same distance again compared to pre-pandemic years.

Higher mileage by goods transport vehicles

Dutch delivery vans covered a distance of more than 18.8 billion km in 2021. This means their mileage was 5 percent up on the previous year and 2 percent higher than in 2019. HVG mileage stood at 9.8 billion km last year. i.e. 3 percent up on 2020 and 0.4 percent higher than in the last pre-pandemic year.

In 2021, the number of delivery vans was 4 percent higher than in 2019, but the average mileage per van was slightly down (less than -1 percent). In the same period, the opposite was true for HVG mileage: despite a declining fleet (-2 percent), more kilometres were covered per vehicle (over 2 percent) on average.

Total kilometres travelled by Dutch motor vehicles, development
Voertuigsoort2021 (year-on-year % change)2020 (year-on-year % change)2019 (year-on-year % change)
Delivery vans5.2-2.92.7
Passenger cars4.8-17.80.7