Number of registered vehicles on Oahu climbs to over 900,000


If you’re thinking “there’s so many cars on the roads,”  it’s because there are. 

Numbers provided from the Motor Vehicle, Licensing and Permits Division show an upswing in the number of registered vehicles and trailers on Oahu:

Fiscal Year
1970 – 321,947 vehicles and trailers 
1980 – 464,454
1990 – 569,493
2000 – 700,763
2010 – 829,284
2015 – 876,513
2018 – 906,237

Civil engineer Panos Prevedouros says, the rise in registered cars is a sign of a “vibrant economy.” 

“For a second reason – we have quite a few people with busy lives with multiple jobs, as well as recreational opportunities. So there is a need to have vehicles in Honolulu,” said Prevedouros. 

He says there are negative effects to a “strong economy” – more people with more cars means more congestion and lack of parking. He also adds “carpooling” has become less popular. 

“People prefer the comfort to drive alone and use ride sharing services like Uber, Lyft, et cetera. But that also generates more traffic. It will only get worse as long as the economy stays healthy,” said Prevedouros.  

Some question if the amount of cars contributed to the multiple pedestrian fatalities recorded on Oahu this year. 

“It scares me. One weekend, seemed like there were 5 or 6 accidents that happened,” said Ala Moana resident Chuck Abbott.  

But Prevedouros says that’s not the case. 

“It really doesn’t. The correlation goes far more closely with the economy. When the economy is good, people travel more. when the economy is not so good, people curtail trips, or take the bus a little more,” said Prevedouros. 

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