Vehicle Registration & Fuel Type

Vehicle Registrations Grow

Tracking vehicle registrations can help a community understand its reliance on cars and the potential for traffic congestion and air quality impacts. Tracking the growth in alternatively fueled cars helps illustrate the region’s contribution to statewide goals for reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It also may reveal the need for infrastructure to support the growth of alternatively fueled cars, such as electric vehicle charging stations or hydrogen fuel stations. This indicator measures selected vehicle registrations including alternative fuel vehicles.

Vehicle Registrations Grow.

How is San Bernardino County Doing?

Alternative Fuel Vehicles, by Type

San Bernardino County, 2017
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Source: California Department of Motor Vehicles

The number of vehicles registered annually in San Bernardino County continues to grow:

  • In 2017, there were nearly 1.7 million vehicles registered (1,689,333) including autos, trucks, and motorcycles.
  • This is approximately 236,000 registrations more than the 10-year low in 2009 (1,453,448 registrations).
  • The number of registered vehicles dipped slightly during the recession but increased consistently each year since 2011, growing a total of 16% between 2011 and 2017, outpacing the statewide increase of 11% during the same period.
  • Among all vehicles registered in San Bernardino County in 2017, one-half of one percent (0.5% or 8,095 vehicles) were plug-in hybrid, battery electric, or fuel cell vehicles. The remainder of registered vehicles used gasoline, diesel or another form of fuel.

Vehicle Registrations

San Bernardino County, 2003-2017
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Source: California Department of Motor Vehicles

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Definitions

Plug-in hybrid: A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle has both an electric motor and internal combustion engine, and therefore uses battery-powered electricity and gasoline in tandem for power. Unlike conventional hybrids, the batteries can be charged by plugging into an outlet.

Battery electric: These vehicles run exclusively on electricity via on-board batteries that are charged by plugging into an outlet or charging station. They have longer electric driving ranges compared to plug-in hybrids. They have no gasoline engine and do not produce tailpipe emissions (though there are emissions associated with charging these vehicles).

Fuel Cell: A fuel cell electric vehicles uses an electric-only motor like a battery electric vehicle, but stores energy differently. Instead of recharging a battery, fuel cell electric vehicles store hydrogen gas in a tank. The fuel cell combines hydrogen with oxygen from the air to produce electricity. The electricity from the fuel cell then powers an electric motor, which powers the vehicle. The only byproduct of fuel cell electric vehicles is water.