Insights & Analysis

July 30, 2021

Weekly EconMinute—July 30, 2021

In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about truck registrations in Alberta.

Have an indicator you want us to look into? Email us at media@businesscouncilab.com.

Earlier this week, a mild controversy erupted when the Globe and Mail published an opinion article criticizing Canadians’ love affair with the pickup truck. We decided to take a closer look.

Alberta has long been synonymous with a disproportionate number of trucks on our roads and highways, including in large urban centres like Edmonton and Calgary.

However, the pickup truck is no longer king of the road in Alberta.

While trucks remain popular, accounting for about 28% of vehicles in Alberta, as of the year ending March 2021, (sport) utility vehicles overtook trucks to become the dominant mode of personal transportation in the province. SUVs now account for 32% of registered vehicles in the province, up from 17% just 10 years ago. That growth has come largely at the expense of cars which have declined in popularity over the years.

  • Sedans and other passenger cars account for 27% of the vehicles on Alberta’s roads, down from 43% in 2006.
  • The number of registered SUVs in Alberta has risen by 121% over the last decade, while the number of trucks is up by just 15%. Meanwhile, the number of cars on Alberta roads is down 16%.
  • Alberta still has a lot of trucks compared to other provinces, but the rest of Canada is catching up. Pickup trucks accounted for 23% of new nation-wide motor vehicle registrations in 2020, up from about 18% ten years earlier.
  • The pickup truck is still king in Saskatchewan, where it accounted for a whopping 40% of new vehicle registrations last year.

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In the spirit of truth, reconciliation, and respect, we honour and acknowledge the lands upon which we live and work as guests, including the traditional territories of the First Nations in Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and the citizens of the Metis Nation of Alberta. We thank the First Peoples of this land, which we now call Alberta, for their generations of stewardship of the land, and we seek to walk together in the spirit of truth and reconciliation to build a shared future for all in Alberta.

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