Vehicle fleet

The "Vehicle fleet" fact sheet examines the motorised vehicles in circulation, their age and the type of energy they use.


Passenger and freight transport by road exert massive pressure on the environment and quality of life, accounting for one of the largest shares of the emissions of greenhouse gases, among other air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulates. They are also responsible for the high levels of noise felt mainly in large urban areas.

The technological developments in the vehicle manufacturing and fuel sectors, have been allowing a reduction in the negative effects they have on the environment, but they are not enough to offset the increasing transport needs.

Together with public transport and soft mobility, we should promote the use of more efficient vehicles that run on alternative fuels with better environmental performance. We highlight natural gas vehicles and, particularly, electric vehicles.

In a country with a very high share of renewable energy, such as Portugal, the use of electricity for mobility purposes allows, in practice, replacing fossil fuels with air, wind and sun, thus significantly reducing the associated environmental impacts and decreasing the country's energy dependence.

This fact sheet concerns mainland Portugal and the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores and shall be updated on an annual basis.

Objectives and targets: 
  • The 2016-2020 National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency includes the objective of encouraging the purchase of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles with lower emissions. Another of the proposed measures is aimed at stimulating the demand and the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the light mixed-use and passenger vehicle market and in the electric scooters market, taking advantage of the investments that have already been made in the development of the smart and integrated management platform.
  • The Green Growth Commitment identifies the "Mobility and Transport" sector as one of the ten areas of intervention for a green transition in Portugal and establishes a measure aimed at promoting electric mobility, by widening and introducing more competition into the public supply network, while favouring the use of charging points in private areas (homes and workplaces) and in private areas with public access (e.g. shopping centres). It also establishes as a priority the use of vehicles powered by cleaner fuels, including 2nd- and 3rd-generation biofuels and the development of a service station network for alternative fuels.
Progress analysis:

Considering the fleet of motorised vehicles presumably in circulation (vehicles that passed, at least, one of the last two mandatory inspections, excluding mopeds, motorcycles, and farm tractors), the total number of light and heavy-duty vehicles reached a total of 6.4 million in 2017. The passenger car fleet reached 5.1 million, showing an increase of 4.3% compared with the preceding year, while light commercial vehicles increased by 1.6%.

Last update: 
Monday, 13 May, 2019