Albania has the oldest car fleet in Europe and one of the dirtiest

Albania has the oldest car fleet in Europe and one of the dirtiest
Eurostat data shows Albania has the largest number of cars over 10 years old on its roads of any European country. / Eurostat
By bne IntelliNews February 4, 2024

Eurostat statistics reveal that Albania retains the unenviable position of having the highest percentage of old cars among European countries. 

While the rest of Europe moves towards environmentally friendly vehicles, over 90% of the vehicles in Albania are more than a decade old, most of them second-hand imports from Western Europe. The presence of large numbers of older vehicles adds to pollution in Albanian cities and increases the number of road accidents. 

According to Eurostat data from 2022, 41% of passenger vehicles in Albania are over 20 years old, the largest share of any country in Europe. 

This is more than four times the percentage of Germany, a country recognised for its strong automotive industry, where only 8% of vehicles fall into the same age bracket. In many other West European countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and the UK, less than 10% of cars are over two decades old. Central and Southeast European EU members typically have older car fleets than their West European counterparts. 

A further 51% of passenger cars in Albania are between 10 and 20 years old, meaning that 92% of vehicles in the country are over a decade old, another European record. 

There is a similar picture across the Western Balkans in the countries for which data has been provided. In Bosnia & Herzegovina, 35% of cars are over 20 years old and 86% are over 10 years old. 

North Macedonia doesn't provide data for cars over 20 years, but 88% of vehicles are aged over 10 years. Kosovo boasts the newest cars in the region, with only 75% over 10 years old, although data for Serbia is currently unavailable. 

In Italy and Germany, the share of cars more than a decade old is 59% and 40.5%, respectively.

Albania also has the lowest share of new cars, defined as cars less than two years old, which make up a mere 0.78% of the total. In Kosovo, 2.63% of cars are new, and Germany leads with 15.4%.

Eurostat's data also shows that Albania and Kosovo have the highest proportions of diesel-powered vehicles in Europe, at around 74% and 82% respectively for the year 2022. Out of over 639,000 vehicles in Albania, 471,000 are diesel-powered, while alternative energy vehicles account for a mere 9.3%. There are under 1,300 electric cars in the country. 

By contrast, Western European countries have more petrol-powered cars and an increasing adoption of alternative energy. For instance, the Netherlands has less than 10% diesel-powered cars.

In terms of population, Albania ranks among the countries with fewer cars in Europe, with 226 cars per 1,000 inhabitants in 2022.