Finding vehicle registration data

By Steve Latin-Kasper, NTEA Director of Market Data & Research

This article was published in the November 2017 edition of NTEA News.

Each year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHA) publishes Highway Statistics Series. This report includes data on bridges, other infrastructure, system users, fuel, maintenance, safety and vehicles. It is the most easily accessible public source of truck, bus and trailer registration statistics.

The most recently published data (made available in January 2017) is for 2015. Information for 2016 is expected to be released in January 2018. As shown in Figure 1, total truck registrations rose 2.7 percent in 2015. The Class 3–8 segment of the total decreased 1.1 percent, which is in line with the capital expenditures decline that began in 2015 and negatively affected the commercial truck market.

Note, FHA registration data is not published by class. The Class 3–8 total in Figure 1 is an approximation that excludes pickups and commercial vans. This is why FHA’s total is less than IHS Markit’s, which includes those vehicles. (NTEA members can login to to access past reports from IHS Markit.) FHA data is segmented by ownership (public and private), with the private-sector total further divided into tractors, pickups, SUVs, vans and other light trucks. Public/private segmentation is important to the work truck industry and is not available from any other public source.

FHA data is also published by state, as illustrated in Figure 2, which includes the top eight states in each category. Beyond California, Texas and Florida — the top three in each category — Washington is the only other state in the top eight for both federal and state/local registrations. What makes this even more interesting is that Washington is not in the top eight for private registrations. Clearly, FHA data helps identify those states where government is a larger percentage of the market than the national average.

In addition to truck and tractor statistics, FHA’s report includes information for buses and trailers, segmented by public and private ownership, by state. Bus data is additionally separated into school and other types, and trailer data is further split into commercial, light and house.

To access the most recent Highway Statistics Series, as well as historical archives, visit

For more industry market data, visit