America Loves Pickup Trucks: An Analysis of Vehicular Spending Across the U.S.

Cars are the ultimate symbol of freedom, independence and individualism. They offer the freedom to “go anywhere,” whenever it suits and with whom one chooses.

– SARAH REDSHAW, In the Company of Cars

The American love affair with cars has been well documented over the years. Despite a relatively shaky safety record at first, the auto industry effectively campaigned to transform people’s opinion of vehicular travel. Today, there are more than 253 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads, according to a study by research firm IHS Automotive.

Curious how much Americans actually spend on their wheels? Data pulled from private and national databases suggests it varies from state to state, with those in Wyoming shelling out the most cash. With an average amount of $26,868 spent per vehicle, Wyoming residents pay more than the other frontrunners: Hawaiians, Alaskans, and Californians.

What People Spend on Cars


ECL_Graphs_Amount (2)Of all the cars sold every year, what model is the #1 American favorite? Not surprisingly, it’s the Ford F-150. It’s a bit cliche, but America really is the land of baseball and pickup trucks.
Think they’re driving trucks in California? Think again! The Hollywood scene seems to pervade every part of the culture – including car sales. The most popular car in Cali is the BMW 3 series. While the numbers show that 39 of the 50 states favor the Ford truck, Florida residents prefer the Nissan Altima. That may come as a surprise to those who consider Florida one of the more “southern” of the southern states.

What Cars People Buy


Florida is also the state with the greatest number of van sales. Guess that flatbed pickup isn’t quite as useful to Floridians as an enclosed van. Somehow that doesn’t portray Florida in the best light… The subsequent states with the greatest number of vans sold are: Illinois, Ohio, New York, and Michigan.

States That Love Vans



Ultimately, trucks prove more popular than sedans in American car culture with 53% of the total sales. A typical car is approximately 47% of total vehicular sales each year.

Trucks vs Cars: Who Owns The Road?


TL;DR: Turns out, America is pretty obsessed with good old fashioned pickup trucks.

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***All graphics are based on internal data from and publicly available stats from

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Posted in Features, On the Road
15 comments on “America Loves Pickup Trucks: An Analysis of Vehicular Spending Across the U.S.
  1. Jack says:

    “That may come as a surprise to those who consider Florida one of the more “southern” of the southern states.”

    Who are these people and where do I, a lifelong Floridian, need to go to meet them?

  2. Matt says:

    Own an F150. Can confirm… its pretty awesome.

  3. Anon Ymous says:

    For your “States That Love Vans” section, van purchases per capita or per person of driving age be a more informative figure.

  4. Nick the Classic Car Guy says:

    “Florida one of the more “southern” of the southern states.” Are you kidding? Where do you think all the retirees from New England go a few weeks after the retirement party? Last I knew there were more old retirees from New England in FL than NE.

  5. RJHenderson says:

    “That may come as a surprise to those who consider Florida one of the more “southern” of the southern states.”

    Who considers that? Florida is famous for not being a southern state despite being the southernmost state.

  6. I would love to see the actual data this is based on. I find it nearly impossible that the BMW is the most popular vehicle in California and the Altima is the most popular in 3 states. Also note that the mini van is the most popular in Arizona but did not crack top 10 in van sales and was beat by Montana.

  7. Peter Fleck says:

    I would love to see numbers on hybrids. I just bought a Prius in Minnesota and now see them everywhere.

  8. rhode-islander says:

    As others comment, sources are needed to support this. Having lived in RI, the idea that Mercedes are the most popular car there is very strange. Even in the few wealthy areas of the state, you seldom see them, in part because RI has high yearly vehicle owner taxes on luxury cars.

  9. Bill Cole says:

    The top model by state map doesn’t pass the basic sniff test: BMW 3 most popular in CA? MB C in RI? Those are numerically dubious, unless the Germans are selling in no other states. F150 beats Silverado in MI?!? I assure you, if Ford did THAT, we’d be hearing about it in Detroit non-stop. Interesting that you don’t cite a source for your data…

    The very different map at–not-what-you-might-expect-181118005.html claims explicitly to be drawn from actual IHS data. Unsurprisingly, it is more in line with history and consistent with Honda’s claim at of having the top 2 models in CA. I’m sure BMW would LIKE to have sold over 70k 3-series in CA, but that would be a logistical challenge.

  10. Desmond says:

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say superb blog!

  11. Julia says:

    What about Subaru’s!!! Especially in Vermont or CT.

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