A just-released report by the US Census Bureau shows that SUV registrations increased by 56 percent between 1997 and 2002, from 15.5 million to 24.2 million. VMT (vehicle miles travelled) for SUVs increased 47%—from 214.8 billion miles in 1997 to 314.8 billion in 2002.
Nationwide, there was approximately one registered SUV for every eight licensed drivers in 2002. Colorado and Wyoming had the highest concentrations, with about one SUV for every five licensed drivers. California and Texas led the nation in adding the most SUVs during that five year period. California had the most registered SUVs—2.8 million—while Texas had 1.8 million in 2002.
The increase in SUVs continued a nationwide trend reported five years ago, but the rise fell short of the 81% jump in SUV registrations between 1992 and 1997.
As the monthly auto sales data continues to show (post), demand for SUVs and light trucks remains strong, representing 61% of new vehicle sales.