The Covid-19 pandemic appears to have reversed, at least for now, a long-standing trend: the increase in the number of vehicles in Maltese roads.
National Statistics Office figures, published every quarter, show that the number of licensed vehicles peaked at 397,508 at the end of last year.
But slightly fewer cars – 397,391 – were licensed by the end of March, and the number decreased by a further 1,978 in the following three months, reaching 395,413 at the end of June.
A total of 3,679 newly-licensed motor vehicles were put on the road in the second quarter of 2020, with new vehicles accounting for 43.6% of the total. The number is less than half the number of newly-licensed vehicles in the corresponding period of 2019 (7,439).
At the same time, 9,753 vehicles were taken off the roads, of which 55.3% were garaged, 22.5 put up for resale, while 18.7% were scrapped. 4,285 previously-licensed vehicles returned to the road, of which 50.9% had been resold while 43% had been garaged.
Passenger cars account for 76.9% of all the vehicles on Maltese roads, while 13.9% were commercial motor vehicles. A further 8.1% were either motorcycles, quad bikes or ATVs, while buses and minibuses accounted for less than 1%.
59.4% of the total licensed vehicles had petrol engines, whereas 38.9% were powered by diesel engines. A total of 4,934 vehicles – 1.2% of the total – were either electric or hybrid.