More than a year after the United States declared a public health emergency due to the global COVID-19 virus outbreak, Americans have curbed many of their travel habits.
Public transit use is down 54% nationwide from March 2020, according to recent mobility trend data compiled by Apple Inc. U.S. trade group Airlines for America says U.S. domestic air travel suffered a 60% drop in passengers last year, costing U.S. airlines a staggering $46 billion in pre-tax losses in 2020.
One mode of transportation, personal vehicles, appears to have taken less of a hit, likely because so many people are reluctant to use planes, trains and buses to move around.
Passenger car sales dropped 15% last year compared to 2019, according to insurance website Insurify, but that loss is less than the 18% plunge that battered the industry during the 2008 Great Recession. Compared to during the pandemic, however, Apple reports that American driving patterns returned to pre-pandemic levels in January.
So what cars are Americans driving in 2021? According to data compiled by Insurify, sales of the Ford F-Series pickup truck — a perennial American favorite, led by the F-150 — has been the best seller in 18 out of 50 states so far this year. Models produced by Honda and Chevrolet feature heavily on the top 10 best sellers in 2021.
The popularity of a car model varies by region, with Honda’s Civic and Accord sedans leading on the coasts while Ford’s pickup trucks dominate in the middle of the country. (Here are the new cars most likely to break down.)