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, the use of more efficient vehicles that run on alternative fuels with better environmental performance should be promoted. Electric vehicles are highlighted, in this context.

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 National Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 (PNEC 2030), drawn up following the EU Regulation 2018/1999, defines, among others, the national objective of “decarbonising the transport sector, promoting modal shift and better functioning of networks of public transport, promoting electric and active mobility and the use of clean alternative fuels”. The plan includes measures to financially support electric mobility and the acquisition of less emitting vehicles in public transport fleets; promote and support electric mobility; promote car sharing services; promote the production and consumption of alternative renewable fuels; promote alternative fuel supply infrastructures for clean fuels.
Progress analysis:

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) was, in 2020, 7.0 million vehicles (light and heavy-duty), recording , for the first time, a slight decrease of 0.1% compared to the previous year. The number of heavy-duty passenger vehicles caused this decrease, having registered a decrease of 10.0% compared to the previous year, while the number of light-duty vehicles increased by 0.1%.

Last update: 
Wednesday, 10 November, 2021